Billy Bob's Blues

Grantland, April 2014

What happens to a man who loses more than half of himself? Ron Lester has searched for the answer since December 2000, when he underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery with a duodenal switch. Since he realized in the third grade that his massive girth could draw laughs, Lester knew his fate was as the funny fat guy. When he moved to Hollywood — a town where funny fat guys can become millionaires — he was an overnight success. There was one problem, though: His moneymaker was slowly killing him. With a family history of heart problems, the 500-pound Lester wasn’t long for this world. Surgery saved his life. It also ended his career.


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