Ron Lester Of Billy Bob 'Varsity Blues' Fame Dies At Age 45

He became known in the late 1990s for playing comedic roles in teen movies.

Ron Lester, an actor best known for his role as Billy Bob in the 1999 sports drama "Varsity Blues," died Friday of liver and kidney failure at a Dallas hospital, Lester's agent, Dave Bradley, confirmed to Entertainment Weekly. Lester was 45 years old. 

According to Bradley, the actor, who has been hospitalized since February, was moved from the intensive care unit and into hospice care early Friday. Surrounded by family, friends and his fiancée, Jennifer Worland, Lester was taken off life support and died at 8:57 p.m., NBC News reported.

"He was not in any pain and passed away peacefully," Bradley wrote in a Facebook post

In November, the actor opened up about his health issues with a Twitter photo of himself and Worland sharing a kiss. 

"Liver & kidneys are starting to heal, Came close to dying! With out my fiancé Jennifer Worland, I wouldn't be alive!" he wrote. 

Lester rose to fame in the late '90s and early aughts with roles primarily in teen comedy film and television. After winning over audiences (and the District Championship Game) in "Varsity Blues" alongside James Van Der Beek and Paul Walker, Lester went on to star in two seasons of Ryan Murphy's WB series "Popular" and the raunchy teen flick "Not Another Teen Movie."

In 2000, a 500-plus pound Lester underwent a significant body transformation. He opted for gastric bypass surgery and lost 348 pounds. But, as Lester told Grantland, the surgery, despite saving his life, effectively ended his career in Hollywood.

“Am I alive? Yes. Am I happy? No. Did I throw away my career to be skinny? Yes,” he told the blog in 2014. “I wouldn’t do [the surgery] again. I would much rather have died happy, rich, and kept my status and gone out on top.”

However, in his final years, Lester seemed to be more focused than ever on acting, working on "Racing Legacy," a coming-of-age story set in the world of Nascar. He also appeared in the drama "Bomb City."

We have reached out to Lester's representatives and will update the post accordingly. 



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