Actor Ron Lester dies

Varsity Blues star Ron Lester has died at the age of 45, his agent confirmed.
The actor, who played footballer Billy Bob in the 1999 movie, was in a critical condition at a Dallas, Texas medical centre early on Friday (17Jun16) after suffering liver and kidney failure, his agent Dave Bradley said.
Bradley later confirmed on his Facebook page that the actor had died on Friday evening.
“Tonight my friends we lost my good friend and actor Ron Lester – he passed at 8:57 pm Dallas TX Time. He was not in any pain and passed away peacefully,” he wrote.
“For the media – I will release a press statement as soon as I have a chance to mourn my friend. Please keep his fiancee Jennifer Worland in your prayers as she was with him. His friends and family was around him during this difficult time.”
Multiple sources told that Lester had been hospitalised for the past four months and had been progressively getting worse. He reportedly had breathing tubes removed after he was transported from an intensive care unit into hospice care in Dallas.
The Georgia-born actor was previously admitted to hospital in November (15) due to liver and kidney issues, but seemed to be in good spirits as he joked about his medical condition on social media.
“Liver & kidneys are starting to heal, Came close to dying! With out my fiancé (sic) Jennifer Worland, I wouldn’t be alive,” he wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of the pair kissing.
The actor has battled weight issues for years, and around the time he starred in Varsity Blues alongside James Van Der Beek and Paul Walker, he weighed as much as 508 pounds (230kg).
He underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2000 and lost 350 pounds (158 kg). He later discussed his decision to have the weight-loss surgery, and revealed that it affected his career.
“The difference is that I am no longer the ‘funny fat guy,’” Lester said. “I sold my ‘niche’ for my chance to live… I would never trade the life I have now with… the endless opportunities I have in store for me, with my old life.”
Lester started his acting career in the 1997 Nickelodeon film Good Burger, before going on to star as the lovable football player in teen drama Varsity Blues. He revealed in an interview earlier this year (16) that filming the movie hit close to home, especially in scenes with Jon Voight, who played the football team’s coach.
“I had the same feelings that my character had,” he recalled. “Jon Voight is like a father figure to me, and after doing this movie, he’s just the greatest mentor I had. There were times, like in those scenes where he was chewing me out, I allowed the emotion to come out, because it was real.”
He later starred on The WB show Popular for its two seasons, and spoofed his Varsity Blues character in Not Another Teen Movie. More recently he made an appearance on CSI: NY, and had a part in the upcoming film Bomb City. Lester was also behind coming of age movie Racing Legacy, that he starred in, co-directed and wrote.