If you're a fan of The History Channel's hit reality show Pawn Stars, you were probably upset to see recent headlines about fan-favorite character Chumlee's death.
But despite what you may have read about Chumlee suffering a fatal heart attack, or a "marijuana overdose," the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop worker is alive and well. It seems like Chumlee was just another target of those celebrity death hoaxes that spread from person to person on the internet. But the stories made us wonder: what is Chumlee really up to these days?
Chumlee - whose real name is Austin Lee Russell - started working at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas when he was just 21. He was a childhood friend of store owner Rick Harrison's son Corey. While he was mostly known as the shop's "comic relief," he proved his expertise on subjects like pinball machines and video games.
But while Chumlee's appearance on the show made him a huge star - he continues to sell more merchandise than any other character on the show - fame has taken its toll on Chumlee's personal life.
Last year, his Las Vegas home was raided during a sexual assault investigation. Police found meth, marijuana, and an illegal firearm inside the home, and Chumlee was forced to take a plea deal for possession charges. Thankfully, things have been better for Chumlee this year.
America's favorite Pawn Stars cast member will have to stay on the straight and narrow until 2019 to stay out of jail.
But it seems like his run-in with the law has inspired Chumlee to turn over a new leaf. Earlier this year, he opened his own business across the street from the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. Chumlee and his brother Sage are the proud owners of Chumlee's Candy on the Boulevard.
The sweets store is Chumlee's first business in the location called "Pawn Plaza" that has sprouted up since Pawn Stars started taping in 2009.
You also might have noticed that Chumlee - whose nickname is inspired by his signature chubby appearance - has slimmed down since the show began. After his father died of pancreatic cancer at age 54, Chumlee started hitting the gym six days a week and watching his diet carefully. He's dropped more than 75 pounds since 2013.
“I’m eating right. Well-balanced diet. I drink a juice smoothie every morning,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. That's just one more reason not to believe any rumors about his death!
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[H/T: In Touch Weekly]