'Extreme Weight Loss' Contestant Rod Durham Dies at 52

The Florida teacher is remembered by the ABC series' trainer, Heidi Powell.

Extreme Weight Loss
has experienced a tragic loss of its own.

Rod Durham, who appeared in the fourth season of the ABC series and lost more than 180 pounds in one year, has died at the age of 52.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of our friend Rod Durham," the producers of Extreme Weight Loss, 3 Ball Entertainment, told ET in a statement. "He inspired us and countless others with his kindness, enthusiasm and heartfelt commitment to everything he did. We share our deepest condolences with Rod’s friends, family and all those in the community who loved him.”

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Trainer Heidi Powell paid tribute to Durham on Instagram, writing, "Heaven just got a lot brighter."

"While I am selfishly so sad and completely devastated that I won't get to see him on earth anymore, I am rejoicing for the spirit he is carrying with him and spreading to everyone up there," she said.

"Rod, you will be missed terribly. Everything from your kindness, to your warm smile and bear hugs, to your friendship, to you extraordinary ability to make ANYONE (including me) feel special," Powell added. "YOU are special. And will never be forgotten."

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Durham was a high school teacher in Tallahassee, Florida, and Rocky Hanna, the school's administrator and a friend of his, told the Tallahassee Democrat students are "broken-hearted" over his death.

"He always made everyone smile -- even if you were having the worst day," Hanna recalled. "If you saw Rod, your day got better. His laugh was simply infectious. Everyone loved Rod Durham. There are tens of thousands of kids today who are broken-hearted."

Durham's last social media post was five weeks ago, celebrating his birthday. "I'm 52 today (February 6th)," he wrote alongside a smiling selfie. "Behold B*tches (sorry! I'm happy to still be alive!)"

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