George Jung, the Real-Life Cocaine Smuggler Played by Johnny Depp in Blow, Dead at 78
George Jung, the drug trafficker whose story was told in the 2001 Johnny Depp-led crime biographical crime film Blow, has died. He was 78.
Jung's death was confirmed on his official Instagram and Twitter accounts, the former of which listed the years of his lifespan (1942 to 2021) alongside a quote from Blow, which recently turned 20 years old.
"May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face, and the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars," the tweet read.
Alongside a photo of the elderly Jung smoking a freshly lit cigarette, the Instagram post revealed that Jung, who was known as "Boston George," died Wednesday morning in his hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts.
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Jung was known as a major player in the U.S. cocaine trade in the 1970s and earl 1980s, as part of the Pablo Escobar-founded Medellín Cartel.
He was arrested in 1994 and remained in prison for 20 years. According to Deadline, after his 2014 release, he was still on probation as of November.
While Jung's social media accounts did not note a cause of death, TMZ reports that he had been experiencing kidney and liver failure as of late.
The outlet further reports that Jung died in hospice care with his friend Roger and girlfriend Ronda by his side, and that he will be cremated. He is survived by daughter Kristina Sunshine Jung.
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Based on Bruce Porter's 1993 book Blow: How a Small Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellín Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All, the movie version of Jung's story was the final film directed by the late Ted Demme.
In 2018, Jung revealed in a Q&A that he was originally hesitant for Depp, 57, to take on his likeness in the film, saying, "Ted told me Johnny played a narc in 21 Jump Street and a half-human, androgynous barber in Edward Scissorhands, so I thought, 'This isn't going to work,' " according to The Hollywood Reporter.
But Demme "was able to get inside my head and capture my being" — and, as Jung said, Depp supported not going with a "Hollywood fantasy" angle.
"Johnny got angry and said, 'The guy's right here, he's still alive, so if you can't do it right, then you can take your money and shove it up your ass,' " he added.