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“I’m so depressed. I’ve been stuck in this bed every single day. I can’t even get up and walk, can’t even shower, can’t even do anything for myself. The last time I got out and enjoyed myself was seven years ago.”
These were the devastating words of food addict Ricky Naputi who once weighed 900lbs.
He hadn’t walked for seven years and was trapped inside his own home before his eventual death in 2012.
The cause of his death was morbid obesity and his struggle was told in a heartbreaking TLC documentary called ‘900-pound man’.
Now, almost 10 years since his passing, we take a look back at Ricky’s tragic journey.
Ricky was a normal-sized boy but as a teenager his weight ballooned to 200 pounds.
In the documentary, his sister, Tammy, said: “Our mom showed us affection through food.”
Because of his size, Ricky was an easy target for schoolyard bullies.
He remembered: “When I went to school I used to hate it. They used to tease me. It really takes a toll on you.”
Ricky suffered depression in his 20s and became a nightclub bouncer.
There he went through a period of illegal drug taking and by the time he was 30 he weighed 35 stone.
But in 2004, he met the love of his life, Cheryl.
At the time he was already 50 stone and weighed 700 pounds.
And in the documentary, Cheryl said: “When Ricky and I got together he was already a big man so when he asked me to marry him I knew what I was getting myself into.”
But Ricky was so large that he couldn’t even consummate the marriage.
The pair were desperate to have kids and start a family but Ricky gained even more weight – making it impossible.
Eventually, he became bedbound at their home on the idylic island of Guam in the pacific ocean.
Despite the picturesque surroundings, Ricky barely able to stand let alone go for a walk in the sunshine.
Cheryl became his carer and said: “It’s just like taking care of an overgrown baby.”
She sacrificed having a family to shop, cook and even help her husband go to the bathroom.
But by consuming 10,000 calories per day, the risk of an early death was obvious.
Fearing the future, Cheryl once said: “I will be devastated because he is my life, my world revolves around my husband.”
Doctors from Guam, America and Australia all tried to support Ricky but he was unable to lose enough weight for surgery.
He needed to shed at least 40 kilograms to pave the way for gastric surgery which would have reduced the size of his stomach by 80 per cent.
Ricky and Cheryl were told the same thing by different experts from around the world but nothing changed.
And when obesity surgeon George Hopkins, from Brisbane, Australia, flew to Guam to meet Ricky he gave the same weight loss instructions.
Cheryl broke down and said they couldn't try any harder and from there the marriage deteriorated.
She explained: “There was a lot of things that were wrong in our marriage. Communication was one.
“Ricky and I had separate rooms. I sacrificed a life of having children. It really took a toll on our relationship.
“I love him yes, but I wasn’t in love with him any more.”
And on November 10, 2012, Cheryl called the emergency services after Ricky stopped breathing.
She said he “took some pills” and wasn’t responding to her.
Medics spent an hour and a half trying to revive him before he was pronounced dead.
He was just 39 and was ultimately unable to beat his food addiction.
After his death, his mum, Ava, said: “Now he’s in a good place and he has all the food he wants and he’s with his family.”
Cheryl decided to stay away from the funeral and explained: “The main reason I didn’t make it to his funeral was I already made peace with Ricky.
“I grieve in my own time behind closed doors.”
- Weight Loss
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