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George Jung Birthday Celebration And Screening Of "Blow"

Source: Greg Doherty / Getty

George Jung, the infamous drug smuggler whose life inspired a biopic with Johnny Depp in 2001, has died according to TMZ.

An official statement was posted on his Twitter account on Wednesday (May 5) with a poetic message. “May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face, and the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.”

Jung passed Wednesday morning in his Boston area home, surrounded by his wife, Ronda and friend Roger by his side. He has reportedly been diagnosed with liver and kidney failure and was in-home hospice care.

Born in Boston, Jung was a star football player in high school and earnestly begun his trade in smuggling by starting with marijuana. After his arrest in 1974 in Chicago, he would eventually transition into cocaine and massive profits as the drug trade exploded in America in the late ’70s and ’80s.

He famously worked for Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel in the 1970s and ’80s, smuggling cocaine by plane from Colombia to the United States.  His massive profits prompted him to purchase a mansion in Massachusetts and he was eventually arrested in 1987. However, after turning on a co-conspirator, he was released and was free until 1994, when he was arrested for smuggling over 1,700 pounds of cocaine in Kansas. He was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison but was released after serving 20 years in 2014.

His story was turned into a book titled Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All in 1993. Eight years later, a biopic was released with Depp starring as Jung and Penelope Cruz as Mirtha Jung, Jung’s ex-wife.