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My 600-lb Life Kelly Mason: Season’s saddest episode ends in tragedy with her death

Kelly before the weight loss. Pic credit: TLC
Kelly, who died of a heart attack, seen before the weight loss on My 6oo-lb Life. Pic credit: TLC

She did the work. She lost over 350 pounds. But for North Carolina native Kelly Mason, it was too little too late as her diseased heart gave out despite her earnest efforts.

It was tragic for anyone who followed her story and it truly blindsided Dr. Nowzaradan who had to call her father Fred back east to share the sad news that she had died.

Kelly was last seen calling a college. She was planning to register to finish her last two classes and complete her degree. She seemed so optimistic, a changed woman in an episode that saw her in harm’s way more than once.

She was fortunate to have a loving family and friends who helped her as best they could. In the end, the stark reality of being so heavy for so long got the better of her and she died of a massive heart attack in Houston.

How she got there was a journey beset by pain. She was anxious about the walking distance in an airport and ultimately having to face the music with Dr. Nowzaradan. He weighed her and gave her the news: She was at 725.5 pounds.

Her last known weight was in the low 600’s. It took the Houston Fire Department to get her extricated from a cab and upright to be admitted to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Houston, where she remained on a controlled diet for a month.

She lost 122 pounds initially and then went to a rehab center where her old food demons kicked in. Kelly ordered takeout food and promptly started to gain weight.

After getting a dress down from Dr. Now, Kelly got back on track and resolved to lose more weight and she did, qualifying for the weight loss surgery after tests and blood work revealed her heart could take it.

Her family was wonderful. A cousin Gary in Katy, Texas took her into his lovely home where her cousins and Uncle Bernard was there for her. Her best friend Lee Ann made the trip to Houston with her.

Kelly had a rough childhood but her immediate and extended family were angels.

Her dysfunction with food began after an early childhood of living in a broken home with a mother who was always on the road pushing her off to live with her grandparents.

Her grandfather died right in front of her then her grandma was promptly sent to a retirement home. Kelly returned to a mother who was depressed and never cooked.

Fast food was the only daily meal. Weight gain was the result.

Kelly was also groomed by and preyed upon by a pedophile in their neighborhood. He eventually raped her when she was nine. If that wasn’t bad enough, her own mother never took it seriously, telling her to brush it all off.

Food was the answer — the comfort and release Kelly sought out. By the time she was ready to start college, her weight topped 500 pounds.

She got pregnant in her first year of college which resulted in a stillborn child at seven months. The depression made her situation even worse.

By the time we met Kelly in the opener, she was clearly in poor health. But to her great credit, she fought for her life and did the work. It was just more than her heart could handle.

Condolences to her family and R.I.P. Kelly Mason.

My 600-lb Life airs Wednesdays on TLC.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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