The Real Story Behind James King: My 600-lb Life’s Most Memorable Participant

James King was a former participant on the reality show My 600-lb Life, which documented his struggle with obesity and his attempt to lose weight under the guidance of Dr. Nowzaradan. He was one of the heaviest people to ever appear on the show, weighing 791 pounds at the start of his journey. He faced many challenges and complications, both physical and emotional, during and after the show. He passed away in 2020 at the age of 49.

But how did James end up in such a dire situation? What was the cause of his weight gain? How did his family cope with his condition? What were the difficulties he encountered on the show? And what were the circumstances of his death?

James King

In this article, we will explore the tragic real-life story of James King, from his childhood to his final moments. Join us as we uncover the truth behind the man who once weighed more than half a ton.

Finding Strength in Hardship: James King’s Childhood Journey of Resilience

James King was born on June 2, 1970, in Elmhurst, Illinois. His childhood was full of difficulties and hardships that shaped his life in many ways.

He and his brother Donald were raised by their single father, Donald Elwood King, after their mother, Virginia Carol Stone King, left them due to her alcoholism. They longed for a motherly figure in their lives, but their father did his best to provide for them.

Their family expanded when their father married Lolita, who brought four children from her previous marriage. However, this also increased their financial burden and they lived in constant stress and fear. James coped with his problems by eating, which gave him a sense of security and satisfaction. He became obese and weighed around 250 pounds when he entered high school.

James always hoped to reconnect with his mother and managed to do so at the age of 15. He was overjoyed to have her back in his life, but his joy was short-lived. His mother died of cancer a few months later. James was heartbroken and felt like he had lost everything. To make matters worse, his family home burned down on the same day as his mother’s funeral. He was overwhelmed by grief and depression. He turned to food for comfort and reached 400 pounds by the time he was 18.

The Struggle of a 776-Pound Man to Walk Again

James was once an active person who loved being outdoors with his family. He had a passion for farming and animals, and he enjoyed riding tractors with his dad. But his life changed dramatically in 2005 when he had surgery to remove a massive benign tumor from his leg.  He weighed about 400 lbs then, but his weight spiraled out of control after the operation.  He had been almost completely bedridden for a year and a half and reached 776 pounds in July 2015. That was when he was admitted to Baptist Health Paducah.

James’s obesity was not only a physical challenge but also an emotional one. He felt like he was trapped in a prison without keys, unable to live a normal life. He missed the simple pleasures of walking, playing, and being with his loved ones. He longed for the days when he could ride tractors with his dad again.

“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,” James King said to Paducah Sun, a local newspaper.

His girlfriend of over 20 years, Lisa Raisor, was his source of support and care. At Baptist Health, James managed to lose 36 pounds, but he was still far from qualifying for bariatric surgery. His body mass index of 128 made it hard for his medical team to provide him with basic care. They needed eight people to help him with his hygiene. They also searched for a facility that could accommodate his needs, but they were rejected by many places across the country. James did not give up on his fight for survival, and he received a lot of support from the public. Courtney Parks, the daughter of his former caretaker, created a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform on August 5, 2015. She titled it “please help james walk again!!” and shared his story. She asked for donations to cover his medical costs. The fundraiser raised over $500.

My 600 lb life

James joined the reality television show “My 600-lb Life” in 2016, hoping to turn his life around. He weighed 791 pounds at the start of the show. He was under the care of Dr. Nowzaradan, a famous bariatric surgeon, who gave him a strict diet and exercise plan to follow.

James’s journey was featured on Season 5 of the show, which aired in 2017. He shared his hopes and fears with millions of viewers, who watched him face the physical and emotional challenges of his condition.

James made some progress, but he also had many setbacks. He had trouble sticking to the plan, and he suffered from serious health problems, such as sepsis, cirrhosis and kidney failure. He was hospitalized in December 2017, and his weight rose to 840 pounds by 2018, when he appeared on a follow-up episode of the show.

Death & Obituary

Tragically, James King passed away on April 3, 2020, at the age of 49. The exact cause of his death was not publicly disclosed, but his battles with obesity and related health issues undoubtedly contributed to his untimely passing. Reportedly he achieved over 300 lbs weight loss before his passing. James King is survived by his wife Lisa and his six children. While details about his family life were not extensively documented, it’s known that James shared a close bond with his family, especially his wife and daughter, who played a significant role in supporting him during his weight loss journey on the reality TV show “My 600-lb Life.”

James obituary described him as a loving husband, a sports lover, and fishing enthusiast:

“He was a loving husband, son, brother, daddy and “poppy” to his grandchildren. James loved sports, especially wrestling, hockey and baseball. 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”.”

TLC, the network that airs My 600-lb Life, expressed their condolences in a statement on their official Facebook page:

“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.”

James King: FAQs

  1. Who is James King from “My 600-lb Life”? James King was a participant on the reality TV show “My 600-lb Life,” known for chronicling the weight loss journeys of individuals struggling with obesity.
  2. What was James King’s starting weight on “My 600-lb Life”? James King began his journey on the show with a weight exceeding 791 pounds.
  3. Where was James King from? James King hailed from Paducah, Kentucky, where he lived with his family.
  4. Did James King struggle with obesity for a long time? Yes, James King faced obesity issues for many years, which significantly impacted his health and quality of life.
  5. How did James King’s weight affect his daily life? James King’s excessive weight made simple tasks like walking and bathing extremely challenging and contributed to severe health complications.
  6. Did James King receive support from his family during his weight loss journey? James King’s family, especially his daughter and wife, played pivotal roles in supporting him emotionally and physically throughout his journey.
  7. Was James King able to lose weight successfully on “My 600-lb Life”? Despite making efforts to adopt healthier habits, James King faced significant challenges in achieving sustainable weight loss.
  8. What complications did James King encounter during his weight loss journey? James King experienced various health complications, including infections, mobility issues, and struggles with emotional eating.
  9. Did James King from My 600-lb undergo weight loss surgery? No, James King  Life did not undergo weight loss surgery. He was dismissed from the show after failing to follow Dr. Now’s diet and exercise plan.
  10. Did James King face any setbacks during his weight loss journey? Yes, James King encountered several setbacks, including struggles with adherence to dietary guidelines and emotional triggers leading to overeating.
  11. How did James King’s relationship with Dr. Nowzaradan evolve throughout the show? James King’s relationship with Dr. Nowzaradan, the bariatric surgeon featured on the show, was marked by both encouragement and tough love as Dr. Nowzaradan pushed him to make necessary lifestyle changes.
  12. Was James King provided with counseling or therapy to address emotional issues? Yes, James King received counseling and therapy to address the underlying emotional factors contributing to his obesity and food addiction.
  13. What were some significant moments in James King’s journey on “My 600-lb Life”? Key moments included his initial consultation with Dr. Nowzaradan, struggles with mobility, and emotional breakthroughs during therapy sessions.
  14. Did James King have any relapses in his weight loss journey? Yes, James King experienced relapses, highlighting the ongoing nature of his battle with obesity and food addiction.
  15. How did James King’s family dynamics change throughout his journey? James King’s weight loss journey affected his family dynamics, leading to moments of tension, but also strengthening bonds as they supported each other through the challenges.
  16. What was James King’s post-show life like? Details about James King’s post-show life were not extensively documented, and updates about his journey were limited.
  17. Did James King inspire others with his journey on “My 600-lb Life”? Yes, James King’s journey served as inspiration for many viewers struggling with obesity, encouraging them to seek help and make positive changes in their lives.
  18. How did James King’s journey impact the conversation around obesity and weight loss? James King’s journey contributed to raising awareness about the complexities of obesity and the importance of holistic approaches to weight loss, including addressing emotional and psychological factors.
  19. Did James King leave a lasting legacy on “My 600-lb Life”? While his time on the show was marked by challenges, James King’s journey left a lasting impact on viewers, highlighting the struggles faced by individuals battling obesity and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.
  20. What lessons can be learned from James King’s journey? James King’s journey underscores the significance of seeking support, addressing emotional issues, and making sustainable lifestyle changes when combating obesity, serving as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

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