Robert Buchel, one of the heaviest people to appear on the TLC reality series "My 600 Pound Life," died during filming of the show.
The New Jersey man suffered a fatal heart attack in November, but viewers only found out about it on Wednesday night's episode. He was 41.
He is reportedly the first cast member to die during the filming of the show, though one man from first season died of an illness unrelated to his weight-loss surgery.
"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," TLC said in a statement.
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Buchel, who battled with his weight his entire life, weighed as much as 842 pounds during filming. Viewers watched his fiance, Kathryn Lemanski, help him lose more than 200 pounds after they moved from New Jersey to Houston where he received medical help. He was five months into his weight-loss journey when he died.
Lemanski spoke at his funeral and paid tribute to Buchel on Facebook in a lengthy post full of grief two days after he died.
“On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, the love of my life, my best friend, my closest confidant, Robert Buchel passed away suddenly,” she wrote.
“I wish I could say that my heart was broken or even shattered, but in reality it is just gone. My heart died along with him. Our future together died along with him. Next year we were going to be getting married in Walt Disney World and have our own Disney Fairytale Wedding. We were going to start a family. We were going to grow old together. Everything we were ever going to be can now never be.
"He did not deserve to go this way and this was not his time ... Rob had a hard life and in the last 2 months he finally had hope for the life he always wanted. This was a robbery beyond words.”
She wrote that Buchel "suffered from never realizing how good a man he was and always felt inadequate and a failure."
According to The New York Daily News, Buchel quickly lost 217 pounds at a Houston hospital before he had lymphedema surgery to remove a swollen mass from one side of his body. After surgery, though, his struggle with painkiller addiction roared back, he grew depressed and began to deteriorate.
During Wednesday's show, Lemanski talked about their last night together, when Buchel told her he didn't feel well.
"He told me, 'I don't think I'll make it through the night. I love you and I always will,'" she said. "I lost my best friend and the person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with."
A friend of hers has created a GoFundMe page to raise money to help with medical bills and funeral costs, and to help Lemanski move back to New Jersey.
"So sorry to hear of your loss," wrote one donor, "appreciate that you continued to let the show air so that it might help others."