Ron Lester Death: James Van Der Beek Pays Tribute To “Varsity Blues” Co-Star

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Ron Lester Death Tribute

By Shari Weiss |

Ron Lester Death Tribute

(Getty Images)

James Van Der Beek is paying tribute to Ron Lester, his Varsity Blues co-star who died on Friday at age 45.

In addition to Varsity Blues, Lester was known for his roles on “Popular” and in the film Not Another Teen Movie. Morbidly obese, he underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2001. Unfortunately, medical issues continued to plague his life.

With his health declining in recent months, particularly his liver and kidneys, the actor was moved into hospice care this week. He ultimately succumbed to organ failure after being asked to be taken off life support. Now Van Der Beek is remembering his one-time colleague.

On Twitter Saturday afternoon, Van Der Beek wrote, “Sad day… #RonLester was a sensitive soul with a huge heart. Everything you loved about Billy Bob was authentically Ron. #RIP bud.” He went on in a second message, “I’ll never forget how committed #RonLester was on every take – even when the camera wasn’t on him… #giving #rare.”

Brian Robbins, who directed Varsity Blues, also tweeted, “So sad to hear the news about Ron Lester. He was the sweetest guy in the world. #RIPRonLester.” Christopher Gorham, who starred on “Popular” with Lester posted, “Rest in peace, old friend. I’m glad I knew you. Heartbroken for his fiancé, family and friends. #BigSugar #BigHeart.”

Fellow “Popular” co-stars Carly Pope, Leslie Bibb, Bryce Johnson, Sara Rue, and Leslie Grossman all posted tributes on Twitter as well. Lester is pictured above in 2005.



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