George Jung, a former drug smuggler and the real-life inspiration behind the film Blow, has died at the age of 78.
Jung’s social media accounts announced the death on Wednesday. TMZ also reported the news, citing sources close to the situation.
Jung was portrayed by Johnny Depp in Blow, Ted Demme’s biographical crime film released in 2001.
According to Jung’s Instagram account, he died in his hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts, on Wednesday morning.
His Twitter account shared a quote from Blow: “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”, along with the dates 1942 (Jung’s year of birth) and 2021.
Blow was an adaptation of the nonfiction book Blow: How a Small Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellín Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All, published in 1993 by Bruce Porter.
Both the book and the film chronicled Jung’s trajectory as a figure of the cocaine trade as part of the Medellín Cartel founded by Pablo Escobar.
Jung, also known as Boston George, was arrested in 1994 and was imprisoned until 2014. He remained on probation as of November 2020, according to Deadline.
At the time, a five-part docuseries about Jung, Boston George: Famous Without The Fortune, had just finished post-production and had been bought by a distributor. A release date has yet to be confirmed.
Blow, Demme’s final film released during his lifetime, came out in April 2001 in the US and May 2001 in the UK to mixed reviews.
“Mr Demme’s storytelling is quick and engaging, but also a bit lazy: the clothes and Mr. Depp’s inscrutable countenance do much of the work,” The New York Times noted in a review.
Jung himself was initially reticent to have Depp portray him on screen. “Ted [Demme] told me Johnny played a narc in 21 Jump Street and a half-human, androgynous barber in Edward Scissorhands, so I thought, ‘This isn’t going to work,’” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018.
Jung eventually came around and went on to praise Depp’s work in the film.