Teddy Pendergrass' Final Days

The legend’s doctor says he was “optimistic” in final days.

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 19, 2010

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Teddy Pendergrass, June 2008

In 2008 we sat down with Teddy Pendergrass in his home to interview him about the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, which he founded to help people, like him, suffering from spinal cord injuries. He’d lived life paralyzed from the chest down for 26 years, and had lots of insight to offer the newly injured.

For that story we also interviewed Teddy’s doctor since his accident, Guy Fried, the chief medical officer at Magee Rehabilitation where Teddy learned to get his life back. After hearing the news early Thursday that Teddy had passed, we called Fried, who tells us he’d seen him just a few short months ago, and has been in contact with his family throughout Teddy’s bout with the colon cancer that took his life on January 13.

Fried says Teddy was planning a trip back to Africa to play a concert and, even after learning of his illness, “he was always optimistic, always full of energy and full of respect and bright ideas for the future. He had lots of ideas for fundraising [for TPA] and singing and was always looking for what would come along next.”

Fried will remember Teddy as a man who was very active in his own recovery, and dedicated to helping others. “Teddy has always been very warm, giving, open and honest. He didn’t want to dwell on the wheelchair. He wanted to transcend the wheelchair. When he was with people and sharing with people he totally transcended the paralysis.”

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