My 600-lb Life Stories That Ended In Tragedy
There are plenty of reality shows that document
weight loss, but My 600-lb Life stands out
as it focuses on the lives of real people.
Unfortunately, that means viewers get an intimate
glimpse into the sometimes tragic outcomes,
along with the successes.
Here are the My 600-lb Life stories that didn’t
Dr. Now may seem like an unlikely reality
However, he’s the only person who appears
in every episode of My 600-lb Life, and his
skills in the operating room are the reason
The veteran surgeon isn’t known for his small
talk, but he clearly lets his patients know
what they’re facing, without diminishing their
Oftentimes, Dr. Now offers his patients a
reality check on the conditions related to
According to a journal published by the National
Center for Biotechnology Information, complications
can include high blood pressure, type II diabetes,
sleep apnea, stroke, heart disease, depression,
cancer, arthritis, and gout.
“Now that you have the surgery, the physical
drive to eat is gone.
So you have to deal with what is driving you
Many patients on the show successfully lose
weight after therapy, diet modifications,
increased exercise, and weight loss surgery.
But, sadly, some of the show’s stars can’t
make the lifestyle changes, or pass away due
to the stress on their bodies.
Robert’s situation was dire from the outset.
It didn’t take long for Dr. Now to discover
that Robert not only weighed nearly 850 pounds,
but that he also had an addiction to painkillers.
“I hate that this is our life.
And that this is Rob’s life.”
“Good call on the wings.
Love the wings.”
“But nothing stops him from eating.”
After a rocky start, Robert was able to finally
get some control over his compulsive overeating.
The New Jersey resident had a lot of love
on his side, including that of his mother
and his fiance, Kathryn.
With that support and a whole lot of work,
Robert managed to lose a significant amount
of weight under Dr. Now’s care, almost 350
pounds, including the surgical removal of
a lymphedema mass.
Unfortunately, the surgery left Robert depressed
and longing for painkillers again.
He even tore his own stitches hoping to get
more of them.
Tragically, Robert passed away from a heart
attack in November 2017, at 41, while the
show was still filming.
Dr. Now was not shy about expressing his frustration
at the medical system for its complicity in
Robert’s addiction, which ultimately did him in.
He also hailed him for being a fighter.
“He knew that he was running against the clock.
And his body gave up.
But he never did gave up.”
Few of the stars of My 600-lb Life are more
notorious than the Assanti brothers, Steven
“Steven Assanti suffers from severe psychological
issues, so he’s going to be a unique case.”
The pair may be bound by blood, but Steven’s
antics ensured that he and Justin were not
brotherly to one another.
For one, he pretended to be following Dr.
Now’s strict diet during the show, but was
Additionally, he would manipulate and bully
anyone, including his father, to get what
He also continued abusing painkillers, including
stealing Justin’s while he was healing from
his gastric bypass.
“He’s a big bully that just me all
Because of Steven’s continued and repeated harsh behavior toward his brother, which
started in childhood, according to Justin’s
Reddit AMA, Justin ended up quitting Dr. Now’s
program, in spite of both his father’s and
the doctor’s best efforts.
He also accused the show of blackmailing him
in a now-deleted Reddit post.
As of mid 2019, he lives in Rhode Island.
It appears that Steven is out of the program
too, and is now living in Iowa with his new
wife, according to Starcasm.
Sean Milliken seemed like he was moving in
the right direction after a rocky start on
his weight loss journey.
After initially weighing in at nearly 900
pounds, Sean was finally able to turn things
around and get weight loss surgery.
That, in turn, helped him drop hundreds of
pounds and regain his ability to walk, according
to his follow-up on My 600-lb Life: Where
Are They Now?
“I know I can hit all these goals in the next
And that’s what I’m determined to do.”
But in 2018, tragedy struck when Sean’s mother
passed away, according to TLC.
Understandably he was devastated, as he and
his mother were extremely close.
Subsequently, he had to move out of his Houston
In yet another sorrowful turn of events, Sean
passed away in the hospital due to complications
from an infection in February 2019.
TMZ reported that his father wrote on Facebook,
“He was having problems with his breathing.
They were able to resuscitate him and a short
time later his heart stopped.”
Sean was just 29 years old.
Having the courage to work with Dr. Now and
appear on My 600-lb Life isn’t easy.
And unfortunately for some patients, they’re
just not ready to conquer their addiction
to food and completely overhaul their lifestyle.
Such is the case with Penny, who appeared
in Season 2.
“I let food be the way that I found solace.”
She was initially able to lose 40 pounds on
a controlled diet, so Dr. Now approved her
for weight loss surgery.
But after Penny’s gastric bypass, she gained
five pounds, when she should have been losing
It appeared she was secretly having food brought
Penny eventually left Houston and moved back
home to Maryland, quitting the program altogether
against Dr. Now’s professional advice.
In her follow-up episode, he stated plainly
that her addiction will end her life.
“Either people around her stop enabling her…or
her addiction eventually is gonna end her.”
Penny’s Facebook account has been mostly dormant,
which only fuels speculation that her diet
is not going well, and seems to confirm what
Dr. Now called her, quote, “delusional” thinking.
Dr. Now is known for giving patients the hope
they need to turn their lives around, and
the tools to help them on their journey.
That’s what Kelly Mason was looking for when
she made the trip to Houston to meet with
the famous surgeon.
“Every day is a bad day.
And every step is awful.”
When she arrived, viewers learned that she
had a host of health issues, including high
blood pressure, a blood clot in her leg, type
II diabetes, arthritis, thyroid issues, reflex,
and heart problems.
It was clear that she needed help.
“Some days it just feels like it would just
be easier if I wasn’t here.
People could just move on.”
Things started looking up for Kelly when Dr.
Now admitted her to the hospital, where she
was able to lose over 200 pounds.
She then had weight loss surgery, and dropped
another 100 pounds.
Upon discharge, she was hopeful, and committed
to sticking to her diet and exercise regimen.
But Kelly’s heart had already suffered too
much stress, despite her best efforts.
She passed away in her sleep of a heart attack
in February 2019, according to Inquisitr.
Dr. Now pointed out, however, that she hadn’t
returned to her old habits.
She went out fighting.
Like many of the stars who appear on My 600-lb
Life, James was initially unable to leave
his bed due to being almost 800 pounds and
had a painful skin infection.
“But even though I still open my eyes each
day, I’m not living life because I’m just
trapped in this bed all day.”
Additionally, James’ family had made some
huge sacrifices for him, including his daughter
dropping out of school to care for him, and
his father refinancing his home to get him
to Houston, via ambulance, to see Dr. Now.
But when James arrived in Houston, he hadn’t
lost the weight Dr. Now required him to.
He dropped a bit while supervised, but soon
thereafter, viewers learned that James had
instead gained enough to weigh in at 840 pounds.
Eventually, Dr. Now told him to leave if he
wasn’t willing to stick to the program.
“My dad’s gotten worse.
And I’m worried.
He’s close to losing it all.
He basically already has.”
When TLC caught up with James a little later,
things hadn’t improved.
In fact, Dr. Now called Adult Protective Services
on James’ girlfriend when he discovered James
was suffering organ failure, and she was still
bringing him food while in the hospital.
Dr. Now dismissed him once again, citing his
inability to make changes.
As viewers learned on her episode, Schenee
endured an extraordinarily difficult childhood.
In order to cope with the pain, she turned
to food at an early age, and slowly grew to
be 780 pounds.
“Food made me feel better.
It made me feel happy.”
Hopeful that she could turn her life around,
Schenee turned to Dr. Now for help.
But she was never approved for weight loss
surgery because she refused to follow the
diet and exercise plan Dr. Now gave her.
She and her husband were even caught ordering
pizza and burgers to her hospital room.
“You both need to stop lying.
You came here to have weight loss surgery,
you haven’t lost any weight in four months.
Since the show, Schenee has posted a handful
of videos on her YouTube channel, some of
them from hospitals, as she struggles with
And while she claims to have lost weight on
her Facebook page, any progress appears difficult
As one of the first stars of Season 1, Henry
Foots endeared himself to viewers with his
kind disposition and sincere desire to attend
his high school reunion looking his best.
“My total fear is the end.
I’m gonna go.
I know I will go if I don’t have the surgery.”
Thanks to his hard work, Henry went from 750
pounds all the way down to 275 pounds, and
was poised to put his past behind him.
But in a heartbreaking twist, Henry passed
away in 2013, several months after having
a medical episode while driving a bus, according
The cause of his passing remains unknown.
Many of the stories on My 600-lb Life have
especially tragic beginnings which trigger
overeating to cope with difficult feelings.
Season 7’s Mercedes was no different.
Mercedes weighed in at 773 pounds, was dependent
on her young children for care, and was struggling
with severe lymphedema.
She clearly wanted to be able to live a normal
“I know it’s hard for her because she wanna
do it for us, and us not do it for her.”
But Mercedes wasn’t able to qualify for weight
She had only lost 80 pounds, and was full
of excuses as to why.
According to her Facebook profile, she’s now
living in Cincinnati, which is a long way
from Houston, so she’s likely off Dr. Now’s
One of the most shocking things ever on My
600-lb Life was when Lisa Fleming’s daughter
discovered maggots in the folds of her mom’s
It seemed like that would be the wake-up call
that got Lisa motivated to stick to the diet
that Dr. Now had prescribed her, especially
since she weighed over 700 pounds.
That was also on top of needing a team of
paramedics to get her out of her house.
Although Lisa did lose some weight under supervision,
she gained it again, once she was back home.
Viewers watched as Lisa’s manipulative tactics
became apparent, arguably some of the worst
in the show’s history.
By the end of her episode, Dr. Now was clearly
frustrated with Lisa’s unwillingness to change
and dismissed her from his program.
“When all you do is give in to what’s easy,
you sometimes forget it’s the more difficult
challenges that make you stronger.”
Not even a year after Lisa appeared on My
600-lb Life, she passed away at her home,
at age 50, according to Page Six.
Jeanne’s life has not been an easy one, and
it only seemed to go even further downhill
during her episode of My 600-lb Life.
“My life can’t get any worse.
But my body and my health are getting worse
by the day.”
She first appeared in a messy home along with
her mother, and a father who struggled with
severe mental illness.
And by the time Jeanne and her mother, Barbara,
arrived in Houston, things took a turn for
the worse when Barbara had to be hospitalized
due to illness.
Then, Jeanne’s father back home was discovered passed away in his bed.
Unfortunately, circumstances proved to be
overwhelming for Jeanne, who decided she wasn’t
ready to follow Dr. Now’s program.
Instead of staying in Houston, she returned
We certainly hope she’ll get the help she
needs in the future.
James “LB” Bonner quickly became a Season
6 fan favorite.
“There’s days where I feel so worthless, I
think I’d be better off in the ground.”
After struggling with food and alcohol addiction,
and losing his foot after an ATV crash, James’
weight ballooned to 650 pounds.
Unable to care for himself, he decided to
seek help from Dr. Now, determined to make
It was clear that James was a success story.
He went from 650 pounds to less than half
of that, and was sticking to his diet and
Additionally, he had become a burgeoning social
media star, with more than 8,000 Facebook
followers, according to Starcasm.
He was doing so well and losing so much weight
that TLC halted his photo and video sharing,
hoping to avoid any spoilers.
But sadly, no follow-up episode would ever
Tragically, James took his own life in 2018,
at age 30, according to People magazine.
“I thought my brother was great.
I had no worries.
So I want to reach out to people out there
that love alone is not gonna save them.”
If you or someone you know is having self-harming
thoughts, please call or chat online with
the NSPL at