‘Pawn Stars’ Funnyman Chumlee Dies of Apparent Heart Attack
Update: This story was republished from ebuzzd.com and now it now appears this story is a hoax and Chumlee IS NOT DEAD.
Austin Russell, also known as Chumlee, star of History’s reality series “Pawn Stars,” has died from an apparent heart attack, sources confirm to eBuzzd. He was only 31 years old.
The news comes as a shock considering Chumlee’s had just recently altered his lifestyle habits, and lost 75 pounds in a year by exercising at a gym six days a week and improving his diet, including drinking more juice, eating more vegetables and abstaining from red meat, a change that was inspired by his father’s death at age 54 from pancreatic cancer, two weeks before Pawn Stars debuted.
“Rapid weight loss can be harmful to your health, and must be monitored closely by a doctor,” Dr. Frank Willis of New Dimensions Weight Loss told eBuzzd. “Quick weight loss can increase your risk of gallstones, mineral and electrolyte imbalances, arrhythmias, changes in blood pressure, and low blood sugar — all of which can be life threatening.”
Can sudden weight loss cause enough stress on the heart to trigger a massive heart attack? “When losing weight, it’s safer to lose at a rate of no more than 1-2 pounds a week,” Dr. Willis told eBuzzd. “From what I know, Mr. Russell lost 75 pounds in about a year’s time. This can be a healthy and safe amount of weight to lose in a year but it all depends on the method and lifestyle in which the weight was shed.”
History has not released an official statement on the passing of Chumlee but the news is quickly spreading on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter with thousands of comments and tweets. Including many stars and friends of the funnyman (below).
At age 21, Chumlee began working for the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. Russell had worked there for five years by the time of filming for the first season of the reality television series Pawn Stars, which is set at the shop, and premiered in July 2009.
Chumlee was a childhood friend of Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, whose father, Rick Harrison, and grandfather, Richard Benjamin Harrison, opened the shop in 1989.
On the show, Chumlee was often portrayed as the comic foil, but often appraised in his area of expertise of pinball machines, sneakers and video games, and was considered the breakout character of the series, and a fan favorite.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend Chumlee,” a family friend said in a statement. “This is all so sudden and shocking. He was truly one of the sweetest men I knew. He will be missed.”
By January 2011, Pawn Stars was History’s highest-rated series. An original episode broadcast on January 24, 2011 was watched by seven million viewers, the most-watched telecast ever on History, according to the network and Nielsen Media Research. In 2011 it was the second highest-rated reality series on TV behind Jersey Shore, attracting 7.6 million viewers.
How will History handle the loss of one of the show’s most loved characters? Will Pawn Stars continue, despite Rick Harrison signing a 2011 record-breaking 80-episode renewal contract for four more seasons of the series?