James “LB” Bonner: How Did My 600 lb Life Star Die?

Image Credit: TLC UK/YouTube

Since its inception in 2012, TLC’s original ‘My 600-lb Life’ has featured several unique and motivational stories of weight loss from numerous individuals. Those who feature on the show are morbidly obese and generally weigh more than 600 pounds and go through a tough journey of mental and physical lifestyle changes to reach their goal weight. Renowned bariatric surgeon, Dr. Younan Nowzaradan AKA Dr. Now, helps them in their journey by providing customized diet and exercise routines. Once they lose enough weight naturally, they can be eligible for weight reduction surgery.

While the process sounds simple, the journey undergone by various individuals takes a different route. While some find it easy to cope with the major changes, for others, it seems more complicated. One such patient was James “L.B.” Booner, who embarked on an inspirational journey but owing to difficult circumstances, took on an opposite turn. However, he is still one of the most memorable cast members on the show, and thus, many of his fans must be curious to know about his whereabouts after the show. If you’re eager to know as well, here’s everything we found out!

James “L.B.” Booner’s My 600-lb Life Journey

The 29-year-old native of Lexington, South Carolina, James “LB” Booner appeared in the show in season 6, episode 6, in 2018. He weighed 642 pounds and was 6.4 ft. tall, and thus, was in huge pain because of that, making him devastated at his own condition. James belonged to a very loving and caring family on whom he became dependent for his daily needs. Although he could walk on his own, and even drive around with his mother occasionally, it was accompanied by constant fatigue and pain throughout his body.

On the show, James described his pain, saying, “My weight is keeping me from having a life… There’s days when I feel so worthless. I think, I’d be better off in the ground. So I just stay home and I don’t go out.” However, that pain was not just because of his weight, but also partially because of his prosthetic leg. James’ slight overeating first began when he lost a dear aunt he was quite close to, as a child. He slowly started gaining weight and eventually also developed an addiction to alcohol.

Sadly, in 2013, James met with an ATV accident and lost his leg in it. Food and alcohol became his only comfort, and although he got a prosthetic leg, depression soon grabbed him, and he barely left his home. Living in his parents’ garage, unemployed and almost 650 pounds overweight, James could not see any hope for himself. But once James realized that he could get professional help to turn his life around, he decided to travel from South Carolina to Houston, Texas, to meet Dr. Now.

James kept a positive mindset throughout his journey on the show and was excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities of his new and improved health. He maintained the routine of regular diet and exercise, remained sober as recommended by the doctor, and successfully lost the weight needed for weight reduction surgery. After additionally undergoing lap-band surgery, James managed to lose a total of 316 pounds and brought his weight down from 642 to 326 pounds.

James “L.B.” Booner Reportedly Took His Own Life

James was truly admired by the fans because of his calm and positive nature. He not only maintained his strict diet during the show, but even continued with it after, since he was determined to lose as much weight as possible. He wanted to lose enough weight to be able to live life on his own and even go for runs and enjoy life like any other person. His determination to shed more weight led him to bring his weight down to less than 200 pounds. Thus, he had successfully lost more than 400 pounds because of Dr. Now and the show.

However, in a tragic turn of events, James could not keep up with his depression, and took his own life on August 2, 2018. It was a piece of devastating news, not just for his family and friends but also for his numerous fans, who felt inspired by his journey. Although he presented himself as a positive person in the show and also on his social media platforms, however, that is not how he felt in real life. In a post, on his since-removed Facebook profile, he had written a cryptic message just a few days before the dreadful day, which later turned out to be his suicide note.

James wrote, “I just want to say thank you to everyone who has shown me love and support throughout my journey. I’ve realized a few things over the last few days and its time that I face my demons head-on. No matter what you change or the efforts you put forth in life, sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and deal with things your own way… Please don’t ever let people you care about not know how you feel.” Later, as it turned out, James had fatally shot himself in the head and was found dead by a police officer from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in a ditch with a gunshot wound.

Everyone around him was truly heartbroken by his demise since he was loved by so many people. His niece, Chelsea Boivin, paid tribute to him, writing, “RIP Uncle L.B. Bonner. I hope and pray your pain and suffering is lifted off your shoulders now. You created a huge impact on so many people through your journey of life, weight loss, and struggles… Rest easy!”

James also had a long-time girlfriend, Destiny Honneycutt, who was devastated by his passing. She wrote, “I just need you back!!! Yesterday we lost one of the greatest mans, my best friend, the best boyfriend, and the love of my life. It was just was too soon and we needed more time together. I love you with all of my heart and I can’t seem to even grasp at this concept of you leaving! You were such a hard worker and I saw you trying so hard to get our dreams accomplished… I believed in you every step of the way. Just please come back to me and let’s just have one more great memory.”

James’ family filed a lawsuit against the show’s production house in 2020, accusing the makers of neglecting his mental health and failing to provide necessary mental therapy and care for James. However, there is no further update on this, and we can only hope that the family’s concerns were met in a timely manner. Keeping everything aside, James’ story shows us the heartbreaking side of neglecting mental health, and thus it is of utmost importance that everyone talks about it to anyone they want, and gets help for their mental peace and inner happiness.

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