Extreme Weight Loss contestant Rod Durham has died. He was 52.
The Tallahassee, Florida-based high school drama teacher was found dead over the weekend in his motel room in Fort Lauderdale, where he was vacationing during his school’s spring break, The Tallahasse Democrat reports. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
“Heaven just got a lot brighter today when Rod entered the pearly gates,” Extreme Weight Loss trainer Heidi Powell wrote on Instagram Monday. “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.”
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. Love you BIG, and can't wait to be welcomed into heaven someday with that one-of-a-kind infectious laugh of yours. Thanks for changing MY world, @roddurham. Now go do you up there, buddy!!!! 👼🏼❤️
Durham weighed roughly 450 lbs. when he competed on Extreme Weight Loss in 2014, going on to lose more than 180 lbs during the show.
In addition to his time on the show, he was an active member of the Tallahassee theater community, where he was known for performing and directing.
Last year, he opened up about his weight loss journey and caring for his parents, who were facing health struggles.
“That whole experience with Extreme Weight Loss gave me back my life,” Durham Tallahassee Magazine. “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.”
In November, Durham mourned the loss of his father, Marcellas Durham Sr., writing on Instagram, “Gone to give Heaven some his amazement.”