Daniel Wright, the former “Biggest Loser” contestant, has died after battling cancer for years. He was 30 years old.
Wright’s former castmates took to social media to talk about their heartbreak over Wright’s death. Courtney Crozier Respess, a former castmate, posted on her Facebook account, “He has fought SO HARD during his battle with cancer & more. This man is one of the kindest people I have ever met & is a true difference maker in this world! His faith has never faded, even in the darkest of times. I am honored to have known him!!!”
Here’s what you need to know about Daniel Wright:
1. He Was Diagnosed with Leukemia in 2017 & Battled the Disease for 2 Years
Wright was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of cancer, in 2017. He battled the disease for two years. His wife said that in recent days, Wright had been coughing up blood and fighting a fever; she also said he had developed blood clots. Wright died on Sunday, May 26.
One of his former castmates, Danny Cahill, “Yesterday the world lost a bit of its light,” he wrote on Facebook. “Daniel Wright and I met for the first time in May of 2009 on the beach in Malibu. 15 of us went to the beach that morning to begin our journey on season 8 of The Biggest Loser. Our 16th contestant was driven up to the starting position of that first 1-mile race (which he won) and out popped Daniel. ‘Hey guys!!!’ He yelled as he jogged over to us. Little did I know the effect this man would have on my life.”
2. A GoFundMe Page Was Aiming to Raise $50,000 to Help Cover His Medical Bills
Daniel’s sister, Deanna Thomas, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help with her brother’s medical bills. She wrote that Daniel was first diagnosed with leukemia in October 2017, after he went to the doctor complaining of, she said, “extreme fatigue, barely being able to walk, and severe headaches.” Deanna described the experience of Daniel’s diagnosis as a “roller coaster” and added that — a few months after he was diagnosed — the family was hopeful that he would recover.
She said that she was setting up the page to cover the family’s cost of living expenses as well as medical bills, since, she said, Daniel and his wife had been forced to quit their jobs. She wrote, “Due to the nature of his treatment and amount of time in the hospital, Daniel requires constant care, which means both Daniel and Rebecca have had to put their jobs on hold. We are grateful for any help with the financial burden of mounting medical bills and expenses, so they can focus on their fight. Any amount of support would be a tremendous blessing to help get them through.”
The page brought in over $10,000 in contributions over the 17 months since it was set up.
3. Daniel & His Wife Rebecca Met While Both Were Contestants on ‘The Biggest Loser’ Season 8
Daniel and his wife met while they were both contestants on “The Biggest Loser.” Rebecca revealed that she and Daniel were a couple when she appeared on the Leno Show, although some viewers had already guessed that they were romantically involved, since they were strikingly affectionate with each other on air. Rebecca and Daniel kept their relationship going long distance after the season ended.
Rebecca was 25 years old when she appeared on The Biggest Loser. The Des Moines native listed her job at the time as student and nanny. She lost 140 pounds while she was a contestant on the show.
4. Daniel Seemed to Make a Recovery in Late 2018, but Relapsed in December
The GoFundMe page for Wright says that he was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2017. After the initial chemotherapy treatment began, Wright had started to return to work, and the family was hoping to return to normal. But in December 2018, he relapsed. The GoFundMe page noted, “The mountain is now much bigger as relapsed leukemia is harder to beat.:
Within 24 hours of relapsing, Wright was transported by ambulance to an Iowa City hospital, where he spent weeks dealing with “fevers, infections, low blood counts, chemotherapy side effects, and attempts with immunotherapy treatments,” the GoFundMe says. Daniel died on May 26, after battling leukemia for nearly two years.
5. Daniel, a North Carolina Native, Appeared in 2 Seasons of ‘The Biggest Loser’
Daniel was just 19 years old when he appeared on the seventh season of The Biggest Loser. At the time, he was the heaviest contestant ever to appear on the show; he weighed 454 at the start of the season. At the season’s end, he was down to 312 pounds. Daniel was originally from Willow Spring, NC and was a student at the start of the show. He returned to the show in season 8, when he met his future wife, Rebecca Meyer.