The Tragic Story Of James 'LB' Bonner From My 600-Lb Life

TLC's "My 600-Lb Life" follows the journeys of morbidly obese individuals as they set out to lose weight and keep it off for good. With the help of a renowned surgeon named Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, many patients undergo gastric bypass surgery. Sadly, though, weighing in at more than 600 pounds comes with its fair share of health issues. Over the years, not all cast members from "My 600-Lb Life" have survived

One such patient is James "LB" Bonner, who was introduced during Season 6. The 29-year-old weighed in at 642 pounds when viewers met him, and dropped over 300 pounds over his time on the show, per TMZ. In the words of The Cinemaholic, he was a fan-favorite because of his "cheerful charm and good nature." 

Sadly, LB took his own life in 2018, which prompted his grieving family to take action against the company that produces "My 600-Lb Life."

LB's family claims the show caused a mental strain

On August 3, 2018, TMZ reported that James "LB" Bonner's body was found in a park in Lexington, South Carolina. An officer was reportedly called to LB's home by "someone concerned for LB's welfare," per People. On August 8, 2018, TMZ reported that the coroner's report ruled LB's death a suicide. 

After his death, his family sued Megalomedia, the production company behind "My 600-Lb Life," according to Starcasm. Per the outlet, LB's family argued that the show placed him under severe "mental and physical distress," and failed to provide him with sufficient mental health care. The family reportedly provided text evidence to authorities of LB's exchange with one of the show's staff members. When LB wrote, "I'm not in a good place right now it's dark," the staff member allegedly replied, "Fake it till you make it." The lawsuit also claimed that the show's extreme conditions caused LB to lose some of his teeth and impaired his vision. 

LB's family is not the only one to sue the production company, either. Starcasm reports that within three months of LB's family's lawsuit, nine other former cast members filed suit, all with stories similar to LB's. One former cast member, Gina Krasley, alleged she was forced to "eat excessive amounts of food onscreen" so it looked like she couldn't stick to the diet, and that producers purposely caused her distress for entertainment value, reports the New York Post.

LB stepped outside of his comfort zone

Less than two months before his death, James "LB" Bonner posted a photo of the late Robin Williams on his Instagram account, along with text that read, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind." He captioned the photo, "This is so true, step out your comfort zone to be kind."

According to People, LB lost over 400 pounds during and after filming "My 600-Lb Life." During his time on the show, he underwent lap-band surgery to assist with the weight loss. In TLC's statement on LB's death, the network wrote, "On the show, viewers saw LB struggle with obesity following a tragic accident that claimed his right leg," per People. The statement continued, praising James' accomplishments. "Even though he once weighed 650 pounds, LB's hard work and dedication helped get him in the 200-pound range," it read. "His spirit and determination as displayed through his story, quickly made LB a fan-favorite, and family & friends have taken to LB's Facebook page to commemorate his life."

Sadly, LB is not the only former cast member to die, either. Gina Krasley, who also sued Megalomedia, died at 30 after suffering complications from a three-week diet challenge.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.