He was the breakout star of My 600 Lb Life Season 6. He was still losing weight steadily — so steadily, in fact, that he claimed TLC ordered him to stop posting photo updates until after his next episode had aired. And he had a growing fan base. Judging solely by his regular social media updates, his life was full of positivity and optimism. So why did LB Bonner commit suicide?
Unfortunately, the days since LB’s death have revealed little new public information. As we were the first to report last Friday, rumors of LB’s death began circulating throughout the My 600 Lb Life Facebook community on the evening of Thursday, August 2nd. Those rumors were sparked by what turned out to be LB’s final update on his now-removed fan page, whose 8,800 followers feared the worst when they read his unusually cryptic and dark words:
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has shown me love and support throughout my journey…I’ve realized a few things over the last few days and its time that, I face my demons head on.. No matter what you change or the efforts you put forth in life, sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and deal with things your own way…Again, thank y’all so much…
Please don’t ever let people you care about not know how you feel….
As we’ve since learned from a number of different sources, a Lexington County (SC) police officer found LB’s body, dead from a gunshot wound, in a ditch near his home at about 8:30 PM on August 2nd. According to People’s report, the officer had been called to LB’s home “by someone concerned for Bonner’s welfare.”
Captain Adam Myrick of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department told People that the department “is waiting for a coroner’s report listing his cause of death,” and that police “are not investigating any suspects.” (UPDATE 2:44 PM: The Lexington County Coroner’s Office has released its official report on LB Bonner’s death, confirming that the cause of death was a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.)
Based on the time of discovery and the approximate time of the above post, it’s been widely assumed that LB’s final Facebook update is also a suicide note. (There’s not yet been any news about whether a physical suicide note was found with LB.)
Since that news, particular attention has been paid to a seemingly innocuous Instagram post LB made just a few weeks before his death. The update is of a popular meme featuring the late actor and comedian Robin Williams, accompanied by a quote that is also often used in reference to people with mental health issues or thoughts of suicide:
LB Bonner’s obituary makes no mention of such issues, and instead calls for friends and family to attend a just-passed “celebration of life.” The full obituary, which you can read here, confirms that LB’s age was 30 (he was born on November 19, 1987) and that he lived in Lexington SC all his life. And it further confirms that his reputation as a gentle giant was also lifelong:
L.B. was loved by many and often known as a “Teddy Bear”. He had an extremely large heart which earned him many supporters and a large fan base. L.B. had a great sense of humor and was a known jokester. L.B. was a great cook and master griller. He was a man of many talents; he went to school to become a heavy equipment operator, worked as a flooring estimator, an auctioneer, and a bouncer.
After LB’s family confirmed his death, My 600 Lb Life network TLC memorialized LB in a tweet:
— TLC Network (@TLC) August 3, 2018
TLC also offered a statement on LB’s passing, saying the network was “deeply saddened to hear of LB’s passing.” TLC acknowledged LB’s weight loss success, revealing that his “hard work and dedication helped him get in the 200 pound range” from a peak weight of 650 pounds.
But one of the most touching tributes to LB came from his fellow My 600 Lb Life participant Diana Bunch. Diana, who first appeared on the show one season before LB, added a new photo of herself with LB to her moving words:
You can stream LB’s My 600 Lb Life episode here.
If you are feeling suicidal or you fear that someone you know might be feeling suicidal, please reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline telephone number is 1-800-273-8255. You can also read more about the Lifeline at its official web site.
(Photo credit: Why did LB Bonner commit suicide via Facebook)
John Sharp is a Starcasm’s chief editorial correspondent-at-large. Tips: E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or send on Twitter at @john_starcasm.