On Thursday night, the rock 'n' reality community received some very sad news: Jani Lane, the former lead singer for the '80s hair metal band Warrant, was found dead in a suburban Southern California motel room
. He was only 47. While I was never much of a Warrant fan, I do admit that the "Cherry Pie" video
is one of my guiltiest guilty pleasures of all time, and when Jani appeared on Season 2 of VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club" back in 2005, I was rooting for him. He started off the series as a bloated wreck, but by the end of season he seemed to have shed not just an impressive number of pounds but also a lot of the emotional baggage weighing him down. It's too bad his new lease on life did not last long.
Jani's time on the show often made "Celebrity Fit Club" seem more like VH1's "Celebrity Rehab," as it quickly became clear that the causes for his declining health and de-evolution from stick-thin, frequently shirtless rock god to pot-bellied, troubled has-been weren't
just the usual over-eating and under-exercising. Jani's drinking was totally out of control, as documented in some of the show's more disturbing pre-makeover footage, and it had taken its toll on the hard-partying rocker.
By the season's end Jani seemed at peace, and a couple years later, he reunited with Warrant (whom he'd left the year before appearing on "Fit Club"). But his comeback was not meant to last. In 2009 he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, and now his death is (as of this writing) being treated as a possible accident (as opposed to a death from natural causes), according to Los Angeles County Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey.
If only Jani HAD gone on "Celebrity Rehab" instead, he may have had a shot at conquering his demons for good. Rest in peace, Jani Lane. Hopefully heaven isn't too far away.
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