Ron Lester, the 45-year-old actor who is better known as Billy Bob from Varsity Blues, has passed away from reported liver and kidney failure. The actor had been moved from the ICU to hospice care on Friday night following a four month stay. Before this, Lester spoke about his troubles publicly on social media:
Lester’s manager Dave Bradley posted the confirmation via a message on Facebook, confirming the actor’s situation with Entertainment Weekly:
“Tonight my friends we lost my good friend and actor Ron Lester – He passed at 8:57 pm Dallas TX Time. He was not in any pain and passed away peacefully,”
Lester was best known as the heavy Billy Bob in Varsity Blues, a role he parodied in Not Another Teen Movie. He also played a role in the movie adaptation of Good Burger in 1997. Not long after these roles, Lester underwent gastric bypass surgery that changed his life and career according to Entertainment Weekly:
At his heaviest, Lester was 508 lbs. He underwent gastric bypass surgery — and flatlined on the operating table — in December 2000, according to a 2014 interview with Grantland. He lost over 300 lbs., including 100 lbs. in the ensuing month-and-a-half after surgery.
In the years following, he talked about the decision to have the surgery in bittersweet terms, telling BodyBuilding.com that he was rebuilding his career: ”The difference is that I am no longer the ‘funny fat guy,’” Lester said. “I sold my ‘niche’ for my chance to live. … I would never trade the life I have now with… the endless opportunities I have in store for me, with my old life.”
Lester is survived by his fiance, Jennifer Worland, and was reportedly working on the film Racing Legacy before his passing.