GARFIELD RIDGE — Nick Fox, a beloved pizza maker hit by a pair of trains in June, has passed away.
Fox, who worked at Obbie's Pizza for more than two decades, died at 3:59 a.m. Sunday at Kindred Hospital in Northlake, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He was 52.
In July, Fox's family moved him from a bed at Advocate Christ Medical Center to Kindred to begin a rehabilitation program — but doctors could not take Fox off a respirator long enough to begin a recovery regimen.
"We were trying to take him off the respirator," said Maria Molinaro, Fox's cousin. "He kept having breathing issues no matter what we did."
Fox's last bout with breathing problems began around 2 a.m. Sunday, Molinaro said. By the time family arrived at the hospital, Fox had passed away.
Fox was on his way home from St. Daniel's carnival on his bicycle when a train knocked him into the path of another train. The impacts broke his pelvis, hand, an ankle and some ribs.
Fox had severe bleeding on his brain. Doctors put him in a medically induced coma to allow brain swelling to heal.
Doctors later weaned Fox off the coma-inducing drugs. When Fox woke up, he had trouble breathing on his own. Doctors performed a tracheotomy to clear his windpipe and attached him to a respirator.
At one point in his recovery, though he was unable to talk, it appeared Fox could understand friends and family when they would talk to him.
But family never knew for certain if Fox was aware of his surroundings. Fox looked at people in his room with a "blank stare," Molinaro said.
If you’ve ever walked into Obbie’s Pizza at 6654 W. Archer Ave. to pick up an order, you’ve probably seen Fox planting pieces of sausage into a sauced-up circle of dough before sliding it into the oven.
His work making pizzas since the 1980s turned him into one of the neighborhood’s favorite characters.
"It's hard to walk into that place now and not see him making pizzas," Molinaro said.
Neighborhood residents shared their condolences in the comments section of a post about Fox's death on Obbie's Pizza Facebook page.
"Obbies pizza will never taste the same," wrote Tom Keating. "RIP Nick."
"So sad," wrote Peter Seamon. "Always got the best Pizza when he was working."
A wake will be held Wednesday at Central Chapel, 6158 S. Central Ave., from 3-9 p.m. Fox's funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Jane, 5201 S. McVicker Ave.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: