My 600-lb Life fans are devastated after finding out that James King, one of the TLC show’s most infamous cases, died on April 3 at a Nashville, Tennessee hospital. The husband, father, and grandfather of 19 kids, who lived in Paducah,Kentucky, was just 49 years old. James once topped the scales at 843 pounds, astounding audiences and the show’s famed Dr. Younan Nowzaradan. Here’s what you should know about James, and his two appearances on My 600-lb Life.
1. He appeared on My 600-lb Life during the fifth season. When James’ weight loss journey was documented in 2017, he topped the scales at 791 pounds and was completely bedridden. It got to the point that his kids and wife had to care for him completely, and when his father suffered a stroke, he couldn’t be there for him. It was his father who encouraged him to seek help from Dr. Nowzaradan. He even took out a second mortgage on his home to pay for an ambulance to take him on the 13-hour journey from his home in Kentucky to the hospital in Houston, Texas. After not following Dr. Nowzaradan’s instructions and putting on weight, instead of losing, he was denied surgery and sent home.
2. He was also the subject of an episode of the show’s spinoff, My 600-Lb. Life: Where Are They Now? In a 2018 episode of the spinoff, Where Are They Now? it was revealed that he gained back the weight, and more, tipping the scales at a stunning 840 pounds. Though James claimed he was working hard, dieting and exercising in order to gain back a place in Dr. Nowzaradan’s program, he kept gaining back the weight. The doctor gave him an ultimatum after learning that his wife was sneaking him food in the hospital: remove her as his caregiver and stay under medical supervision, or leave wife her and not come back. He chose the latter.
3. He suffered from serious health issues in the past. It was revealed on the TLC reality shows that James had a long history of health problems throughout his life, including sepsis, cirrhosis of the liver, and kidney failure. It’s unclear if these issues were related to his obesity.
4. He leaves behind a large and loving family. James, according to his obituary, leaves behind his wife, Lisa King, and six children: daughters Carrie, Krystle, Courtney, and Bayley, and sons Daemian and Austin. He was also the proud “poppy” to 19 grandchildren.
5. He was a major sports fan. “James loved sports, especially wrestling, hockey and baseball,” his obituary reads. “James’ favorite team to cheer for was the Chicago Cubs. His other hobbies included fishing and communicating to friends across the country on his CB Radio under the handle ‘Cracker Jack'”.