A STAR of reality television series My 600-lb Life has been found dead in a suspected suicide, it's reported.

James L.B. Bonner, 30, was discovered in a park ditch in Lexington, South Carolina, with a gunshot wound and pronounced dead at the scene, according to US reports.

Officers were responding to a welfare check at around 8.30pm on Thursday before making the discovery with his death is now under investigation, TMZ reported.

In 2013, Bonner lost his leg in a car accident and became depressed, turning to food and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

He eventually hit 642lbs (46st) as a result, but with the help of the TLC show he shed a staggering 316lbs (22.5st) - half his bodyweight.

Bonner, who was 6ft 5in tall, continued his weight loss even after the show wrapped earlier this year and is said to have reached around 200lb (14st) before his death.

He posted a cryptic message on his official Facebook page on Thursday, thanking fans for their "love and support" throughout his journey.

He said: "I've realized a few things over the last few days and its time that, I face my demons head on..

"No matter what you change or the efforts you put forth in life, sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and deal with things your own way...

"Again, thank y'all so much. Please don't ever let people you care about not know how you feel."

Friends and family have paid tribute to Bonner on social media, hinting that his death may have been a suicide.

His niece, Chelsea Boivin, wrote: "'RIP Uncle L.B. Bonner. I hope and pray your pain and suffering is lifted off your shoulders now.

"You created a huge impact on so many people through your journey of life, weight loss, and struggles... Rest easy!"

His heartbroken long-term girlfriend Destiny Honneycutt shared pictures of the pair and said: "I just need you back!!!

"Yesterday we lost one of the greatest mans, my best friend, the best boyfriend, and the love of my life.

"It was just was too soon and we needed more time together.

"I love you with all of my heart and I cant seem to even grasp at this concept of you leaving!

"You were such a hard worker and I saw you trying so hard to get our dreams accomplished...

"I believed in you every step of the way. Just please come back to me and let's just have one more great memory."

TLC, who broadcasts the series, released a statement on its website saying: "James 'LB' Bonner, who appeared on this past season of My 600-lb Life, has sadly passed away.

"On the show, viewers saw LB struggle with obesity following a tragic accident that claimed his right leg.

"Even though he once weighed 650 pounds, LB's hard work and dedication helped get him in the 200-pound range.

"His spirit and determination as displayed through his story, quickly made LB a fan-favorite, and family & friends have taken to LB's Facebook page to commemorate his life.

"TLC was deeply saddened to hear of LB's passing and is honoured to have shared his honest and courageous story on My 600-lb Life."