Varsity Blues Star Ron Lester Dead at 45
After 1999 hit, he 'threw away career to be skinny'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2016 9:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Sad news for fans of Varsity Blues: Ron Lester, the actor best known for starring as plus-sized offensive guard Billy Bob in the 1999 comedy, died in a Dallas hospital on Friday, Rolling Stone reports. He was 45 years old. NBC reports that he died from liver and kidney failure and had been in the hospital for four months. Lester, who grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia, also had roles in Not Yet Another Teen Movie, Freaks and Geeks, and Popular, though his acting career declined after he underwent gastric band surgery in 2001. Lester, who weighed just over 500 pounds at his heaviest, lost close to 350 pounds after the surgery. In 2014, he told Grantland that he had "thrown away his career to be skinny and would "much rather have died happy, rich, and kept my status and gone out on top."