William Perry did, in fact, die this week.
This William Perry didn't play for the Chicago Bears, he didn't score a touchdown in the Super Bowl, he didn't star in any McDonald's commercials or appear on Sports Illustrated.
He did enjoy working on golf carts, old cars and trucks, according to his obituary. He had a wife of 34 years, Brenda, a son and a daughter.
There were widespread rumors on Twitter on Wednesday that William Perry had died, and that was dismissed as a hoax when Clemson football announced on Twitter that the Chicago Bears fan was alive. But a man named William Perry did die, it just wasn't that William Perry.
The receptionist at Powers Funeral Home in Lugoff, S.C. confirmed that there is a funeral service for William Perry, former machinist and car salesman, on Saturday.
"He was a simple man," William Perry Jr. said from his home in South Carolina. "Just a simple family man."
William Perry Jr. was upset about stories that said William Perry's reported death was a hoax, just because the former Bears lineman is alive and well. But now it's easy to see how the rumors came about.
Perry Jr. said friend of Perry's posted on Facebook that his father had died. Perry's friend is a big Clemson fan, and has many Clemson fans who are Facebook friends with him. Eventually the fan site TigerNet.com mistakenly put up a story claiming that William Perry, the defensive tackle who is best known by his "Refrigerator" nickname and played his college ball at Clemson, had died. When a William Perry in South Carolina dies, there's bound to be some confusion.
The William Perry who died was from Camden, S.C. about 90 miles from the more famous William Perry, who is from Aiken, S.C. The William Perry from Camden died on Tuesday after a series of strokes and a heart attack.
And, funny enough, the William Perry from Camden was a huge Clemson football fan and his son said he loved all the team's players. He tried to make it to a home game every year, and planned to go to one this season.
"He was possibly Clemson's biggest fan," Perry Jr. said.
Perry also had a lot of fun over having the same name as a famous football star. His co-workers at the car dealership had a good time with his name, and Perry was in on the joke.
"They called him 'The Icebox,'" Perry Jr. said of his father. "He had that on a business card."
Perry Jr. said when he would introduce himself, or himself and his son, he would immediately say he wasn't the football star, but joke that "I'm just a poor white version of him."
William Perry Jr. read that William Perry's death was all a hoax and was hurt, as any son who just lost his 55-year-old father would be. He said that news of his father's death obviously wasn't meant to become a big deal on Twitter – "The Fridge" was trending on Wednesday for a while – just an announcement for friends and family of the Clemson football fan who jokingly went by "The Icebox."
So to Perry's family and friends, it was no hoax. William Perry did die this week. He will be missed by those who knew him.