News has broken that James King, a reality TV star made famous in an episode of My 600-lb Life back in 2017, died on April 3. The TLC docuseries subject was only 49 at the time of his death.
TLC broke the news in a post this week, noting the network’s thoughts go out to his family and friends.
TLC was deeply saddened by the loss of James King, who shared his weight-loss journey on My 600lb Life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.
A family member spoke to TMZ about the reality star’s death, noting he passed away last Friday in a hospital in Nashville. King hailed from Paducah, Kentucky and it's unclear what he was doing in Tennessee for him to be hospitalized in Nashville. It’s also currently unclear what his cause of death, but throughout his time on My 600-lb Life, James King had dealt with plenty of health concerns. He’d seen his body undergo kidney failure, sepsis and even cirrhosis of the liver before his death. At one point, he also revealed he had dealt with a benign 29.5-lb tumor in his leg.
James King was open about his struggles with weight. In fact, he talked on My 600-lb Life about his troubled childhood. He only saw his mother, a woman with alcohol problems, three times as a child. He was raised by his father, who later remarried a woman who already had four kids. Financial troubles followed and King started gaining weight, admitting to finding “safety” in having enough food to eat.
When James King appeared on My 600-lb Life, his weight actually was nearing 800 lbs, later hitting 840 lbs during his return visits on the show. His appearance on the TLC series had him working to get his weight under 600 lbs so that he would qualify for gastric bypass surgery. Unfortunately, by the time TLC revisited James King’s story, he had gained weight again.
Prior to his death, King did an interview with The Paducah Sun in Kentucky, where he talked about wanting to get control of his weight to have a normal, healthy life and to spend more time doing normal activities with Lisa.
I want to ride tractors with my dad. ... I used to ride tractors. I like (being around) animals. I've always been an outdoors person. But I've been like a tiger in a cage for 10 years. It's like being in a prison and they've lost the keys.
James King was not the first person involved with My 600-lb Life to pass away. Others from the show have been taken away too soon, including 29-year-old Sean Milliken, who passed away at age 29. In Millikin’s case, his heart stopped after he had been hospitalized for an infection. Milliken had previously lost weight on the show.
In addition, other stars including Lisa Fleming and James L.B. Bonner, have died following appearances on the show.
James King leaves behind his partner Lisa and their six children. He is also survived by two grandchildren. Our thoughts go out to them during this particularly difficult time.