Ron Lester is reportedly in dire health, with the Varsity Blues actor being moved from intensive care into a hospice unit after suffering liver and kidney failure.
The 45-year-old actor had been enduring health issues for months, and in November sent a message to fans saying that he nearly died as a result of his liver and kidney failure.
“Liver & kidneys are starting to heal, Came close to dying! With out my fiancé (sic) Jennifer Worland, I wouldn’t be alive,” he wrote on Twitter.
Lester added that he kept the news quiet until the health crisis had passed as he did not want to make headlines.
But Ron Lester’s health soon declined again, and he has been hospitalized since February for severe kidney and liver issues. People magazine reported that he is listed in critical condition, and has been transferred to hospice care.
Lester is best known for his role as the oversized and party-loving offensive linemen in Varsity Blues. Lester once weighed more than 500 pounds, but dropped to under 200 pounds after having gastric bypass surgery in 2000.
In an interview with BodyBuilding.com, Lester recounted how his out-of-control eating led to the massive weight gain.
“Typically I would start the day with 3 big bowls of cereal. That — looking back — would have been at least 5 glasses of whole milk. Maybe some toast and butter, about 4 slices.
“Go to work, on which ever show I was on that week, and grab a Bagel; load it up with cream cheese, leeks, tomatoes and red onion. Two cans of cokes. Or… If I had to work right away, once I got on the set… I would wait. Then when I had a break, there was a Mickey D’s near and because they would have started serving lunch by this point I would order, 2 Big Macs, super-size fries, super size Coke, and a fish sandwich.”
But after the gastric bypass surgery, Lester made the most of his new lease on life. The former standout athlete said he began working out and eating better and continued to lose weight. In the end he lost more than 350 pounds, setting in at just over 150 pounds.
He also told BodyBuilding that he got active again, though still had some difficulty adjusting to his new look.
“Right now, I wake up and go walking and hiking! I love hiking and climbing And the truth is — I guess, ’cause when I look in the mirror — I still see the 508-pound guy! I visited a gym one day and felt like everybody was looking and judging me… Oh, look there is that celeb that was so fat! And now I don’t really have any upper strength.”
But Lester also admitted to having mixed feelings after his weight loss, saying he was no longer a “walking billboard” who fans could immediately recognize on the street. Lester said that he made “a couple million dollars” through his work and put $400,000 back into his body, but that he didn’t regret making his name as an actor largely because of his weight.
Lester said his work gave him the ability to take off for three years to be with his mother while she was dying of cancer. He came out of retirement after her death, and his Twitter page noted that he was producing an action drama called Racing Legacy.
After news spread that Ron Lester was in critical condition and moving to hospice care, many fans and former castmates took to Twitter to share prayers and best wishes for the actor.
[Image via Facebook/Ron Lester]