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Payton bedridden after 1st-pitch honors
Posted: Tuesday April 13, 1999 12:29 PM
CHICAGO (AP) -- NFL great Walter Payton, suffering from a rare liver disease, called off a personal appearance and was in bed Tuesday after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day at Wrigley Field.
Payton, the NFL's all-time leading rusher as a tailback with the Chicago Bears, was scheduled to speak to the Machinery/Materials Conference and Exposition this morning at Chicago's McCormick Place. But his appearance was canceled at the last minute, convention spokesman Leo Nadolske said.
Nadolske said he was told that Payton went to bed sick Monday right after arriving home from Wrigley Field and his first public appearance in months.
"He had a very big day yesterday and part of the symptoms of [his disease] is fatigue," said Ginny Quirk, vice president of Walter Payton Inc. "Therefore, his feeling was that it was going to be too much to go all the way downtown and give a powerful keynote speech. He was too taxed to make the trip."
Payton lives in suburban South Barrington, about 40 miles from McCormick Place.
At Wrigley, the 44-year-old Payton looked decidedly healthier than he did more two months ago when he announced that he needed a liver transplant because he was suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis. He was placed on the transplant list at Mayo Clinic in February.
"He had a ball yesterday," Quirk said. "It was very uplifting for him."
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