Extreme Weight Loss star dies at 52, just two years after losing 180lbs on show

A much beloved contestant on the popular reality show Extreme Weight Loss died at the weekend.

Rod Durham, 52, was found by housekeepers at his hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where the high school English teacher had been spending his spring break. 

Durham’s cause of death is believed to be diabetic shock.

He became an inspiration for millions back in 2014 when he lost an impressive 180 pounds thanks to diet and exercise while competing on the Extreme Weight Loss show.

Gone too soon: Rod Durham (above) of Tallahassee , Florida passed away over the weekend at the age of 52

‘He was the perfect example of a teacher where you can’t describe their impact on students by test scores,’ said Leon High School principal Billy Epting in an interview with the school newspaper, The Leon High Life.

‘He had a personality and a character that was more than teaching drama or English in the classroom. Students could have a personal and professional relationship with him about life and being a good person.’

Teacher and close friend Rocky Hanna added: ‘There are a lot of broken hearts in our community today. People like Rod Durham come around once in a lifetime.

‘His smile, his heart, his demeanor… Even if you were having a bad day, being around [Durham] would make it better. His laugh was infectious. He was literally larger than life.’

Durham’s reality-television family also paid tribute to him on Monday, with Extreme Weight Loss trainer Heidi Powell posting a photo on Instagram of him after he lost 180 lbs, writing: ‘Heaven just got a lot brighter today when Rod entered the pearly gates.

‘While I am selfishly so sad and completely devastated that I won’t get to see him on Earth anymore, I am rejoicing for the spirit he is carrying with him and spreading to everyone up there…including my dad.

‘Rod, you will be missed terribly. Everything from your kindness, to your warm smile and bear hugs, to your friendship, to you extraordinary ability to make ANYONE (including me) feel special.

‘YOU are special. And will never be forgotten.’

Her husband and fellow trainer Chris Powell also posted a photo of Durham on Instagram and wrote: ‘Your positive energy and contagious laugh brightened this world and everyone lucky enough to meet you.

‘You had an ability to make everyone feel special and loved. You changed your own life and in the process, you motivated and inspired millions of others.

‘You have forever made a positive difference in this world. We love you and miss you Rod.’

Durham had previously called the Powell ‘lifesavers’ and said the being on Extreme Weight Loss was the greatest experience of his life.

Rod Durham

The openly-gay teacher weighed roughly 450 lbs when he started on the reality show, and lost almost half of his weight over the course of a year while also finding the strength to come out to his father.

‘Coming out to my father at 49 was huge. My father was a military man, and I thought it would cause him pain and disappointment but it really was just me, afraid of rejection,’ Durhgam told Tallahassee Magazine.

‘He said, “Son, that’s another piece of information I know about you.” I realized that your parents are your parents, and they love you unconditionally.’

He then said of his time on the show: ‘That whole experience with Extreme Weight Loss gave me back my life.

‘Yes, I lost a lot of weight, but this transformation really has very little do with my weight loss. The transformation was in my head and in my heart.’

Source: The DailyMail

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