Robert Buchel, star of TLC’s My 600-lb Life, died Nov. 15 from a heart attack while filming the series at a hospital in Houston.
His death was announced by TLC after the Wednesday episode. Buchel was 41.
His fiancée, Kathryn Lemanski of Manchester, N.J., addressed viewers in an epilogue following Wednesday's episode.
“He told me, ‘I don’t think I’ll make it through the night. I love you and I always will,'” Lemanski said. “I lost my best friend and the person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.”
In a November Facebook posting after Buchel passed away, Lemanski said the two were going to "get married in Walt Disney World and have our own Disney Fairy Tale Wedding. We were going to start a family. We were going to grow old together."
Buchel, who was from Forked River, N.J., had lost more than 200 pounds — his top weight was 842 pounds — and he had undergone lymphedema removal surgery. Yet, a previously unacknowledged addiction to pain killers came back to haunt him, depression set in and he stopped exercising.
"To carry all this weight is physically draining, mentally, emotionally taxing," said Buchel on the episode. "It's not a pain or life I’d wish on anyone because I can't do anything. I can’t do anything for anyone — especially myself so I am completely dependent on my fiancée."
In a statement, TLC said: "TLC was deeply saddened by the loss of Robert. We are grateful to his family who were gracious enough to let us continue to share his brave story with our viewers. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time."
Each episode of My 600-lb Life follows the life of a morbidly obese person as they attempt to lose weight and change their lifestyle under the care of Houston surgeon Younan Nowzaradan. The series debuted in 2012 and Buchel is the first person to pass away on the series.
Henry Foots of Houston died in 2013 following his appearance on Season 1 of the series at the age of 51.
A GoFundMe was launched on Lemanski's behalf to help defray costs accumulated in the care of Buchel.
"The only consolation I have right now is that we were together and that his last words of peace to me were how he felt about me and how I felt about him," said Lemanski about Buchel. "And when he did pass, he was not alone. I was there holding his hand."
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