James King, a beloved star on My 600-lb Life, has died, his family says. The reality star passed away in a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, according to a report by TMZ. He was 49 years old.
A family member of King's spoke to reporters on Monday, confirming that he passed away last week. King had struggled with his health throughout his life, including his weight and other issues as well. So far, it is unclear what caused his death, nor why he was in a hospital so far from home. King was a resident of Paducah, Kentucky.
King is survived by his wife, Lisa Raisor King, as well as four daughters, two sons and 19 grandchildren.
King starred in a 2018 episode of My 600-lb Life on TLC. In it, he shared his tragic life story, starting with his upbringing by a single father. King explained that his mother was a severe alcoholic, and was therefore not around.
To make matters worse, King explained that his father was left to care for six kids in total, and he did not make enough money to support them all. He felt that this contributed to his dysfunctional relationship with food.
"I never knew if we were going to have enough to eat, so I just started to eat as much as I could when I got the chance," he said. "I remember the joy and safety there was in food."
As a teenager, James was able to reconnect with his mother. However, shortly after their relationship began to flourish, he said that she died of liver cancer. He was "devastated" by this latest blow, feeling that he had lost "something that had been missing from my life."
On the day of King's mother's funeral, he said, his family house burned down. "I lost just about everything I had in a single day," he said. "I just couldn't handle all that. I was just so depressed, tore up — I couldn't even go to school. It seemed like all I wanted to do was eat."0comments
The show focused on King's issues with food, his extreme weight and all the health troubles that were resulting from it. At the time, he was the heaviest person to be featured on the show, with a peak weight of 791 pounds. He was suffering from sepsis, cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure.
King continued to struggle with his weight after his appearance on TLC. In a follow-up episode a year later, he weighed in at 840 pounds. His wife documented some of health struggles on social media, though the family stayed mostly out of the public eye after apearing on TV. King's full obituary was published by Milner and Orr Funeral Home.