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World’s Fattest Fat Lady Dies

AUBURNDALE, Florida – Rosalie Bradford, who once held the Guinness record as the world’s heaviest woman, died from complications of obesity. She was 63.

Bradford, of Auburndale, weighed 1,050 pounds in January 1987, according to the 1994 edition of Guinness Book of Records. She also was listed by Guinness as having lost more weight than any other woman – 736 pounds – weighing in at 314 pounds in September 1992.

“We’re going to miss her,” said Sandy Nice of Auburndale, Bradford’s half-sister who assisted in a worldwide ministry that counseled hundreds of obese women.

Bradford is survived by her husband, Robert Bradford, and son, Robbie Bradford, of Sarasota. She also leaves a sister in Pennsylvania, where Rosalie Bradford was raised by her baby sitter after being abandoned at age 6 months by her mother.

On her carefully maintained Web site, www.rosaliebradford.com, Bradford blames her lifelong battle with obesity on her abandonment, which bred a food addiction. At 15 she weighed 309. The Web site claims her peak weight was in excess of 1,200 pounds.

In 1989, Bradford, who was 5-feet 7-inches tall, attempted suicide, and owed her drastic weight loss to Richard Simmons, the flamboyant fitness guru and television personality. The two began corresponding after a friend of Bradford’s wrote Simmons about her struggle.

Ten years later Bradford left Pennsylvania for Auburndale with her husband, a former Ferris wheel operator, and son. The couple married in 1973, when Rosalie was down to 250 pounds. After giving birth she weighed 374 pounds.

In a 1999 Ledger article, Bradford told of a failed 1970 intestinal bypass operation in which she nearly died from a blood infection.

Two beds had to be chained together to support her frame.

“I was just like an addict – lie, cheat, steal, whatever to get my drug of choice. And my drug of choice was food,” Bradford said. “She binged on potato chips, pretzels and cheese, consuming at least 10,000 calories a day. At the time of the interview, she was at 304 pounds.

At her largest, Bradford’s 8-foot-wide girth couldn’t fit in the hallway of a single-wide mobile home. Bathing took more than 90 minutes.

She said Simmons sent her a diet plan and became a “pain in the butt,” helping her lose weight over a period of 1 1/2 years. Yet her weight continued to fluctuate.

She spent the last year bedridden, her legs bloated due to complications from having had her lymph nodes severed a number of years ago, said her publicist, Stephen Nortier, of Michael Thomas Media Group. She died Wednesday at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

Bradford’s weight had rebounded to more than 400 pounds, but she continued working on a book that Nortier’s company plans to have published in coming months.

“It will be her life story,” he said, “and it’s an incredible story.”
 

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