High school teacher and season four “Extreme Weight Loss” alum Durham died the weekend of March 11 while visiting in South Florida at the age of 52. Found in his Ft. Lauderdale motel room by housekeeping staff, it is believed that Durham died as a result of diabetic shock.
A graduate of Leon, Durhan returned to his alma mater where he taught drama and English at Leon High School in Tallahassee, Florida.
As a part of “Extreme Weight Loss” Durham lost nearly 200 pounds. When Durham joined the show he weighed 448 pounds and spent the next year working on losing weight. By the end of the year, he had dropped a total of 180 pounds and weighed in at 260 pounds.
After the show, Durham told WTXL in an interview, “you’re never too old to follow your dreams and make a change for you. Live for you, follow your heart and never give up.”
Durham noted that he was the third oldest and second heaviest contestant on the show; but said, “I wasn’t always the first one who finished, but I always finished it.”
“Extreme Weight Loss” held Durham’s weigh in at Leon and the students even held a big pep rally to show their support of the teacher.
Speaking on Durham, former Leon High School principal Rocky Hanna said, “Rod was loved by everyone. People like Rod Durham come around once in a lifetime and he touched thousands and thousands of young lives. I’m forever grateful. I’m proud to have called him my friend and our community was very lucky to have him.”
Always ready with a smile, Durham was loved at Leon High School. Fellow LHS teacher Linda Teague spoke on Durham saying, “Rod is just special. It’s hard to describe. He would give you the shirt of his back and wouldn’t even blink.”
Besides teaching for the red and white, Durham was active in the Tallahassee theater community as an actor and director including “Agnes of God”, “The Piano Lesson”, and “The Merchant of Venice”.
He was born February 6, 1964.
When Durham was a part of “Extreme Weight Loss”, he was also the caretaker for his parents.
His biggest supporter, Durham is survived by his sister Elsie, his brother, and his mother.
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