“Queer Eye” has bid farewell to Tom Leon Jackson, a fan-favorite hero from season 1 of the reality show’s 2018 reboot on Netflix.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a member of our Queer Eye family,” a statement read on the show’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts on Wednesday. “Rest in peace, Tom Jackson.”
In the comments on Instagram, Fab Five member Tan France wrote, “Such incredibly sad news,” while Jonathan Van Ness added, “RIP Tom,” with a red heart emoji. Interior designed Bobby Berk added “RIP Tom. Having a Redneck Margarita in your honor” with the crying and red heart emojis.
Jackson appeared in the episode titled, “You Can’t Fix Ugly,” where he opened up about living with lupus. After undergoing a makeover, Jackson went on to reconcile with his ex-wife Abby Parr. The two went on to get engaged and married for a second time but later divorced in 2019, according to Jackson’s Twitter.
According to a local obituary, the 63-year-old died on March 3 at 11:49 p.m. after losing his battle with metastatic adenocarcinoma,
Metastatic adenocarcinoma occurs when adenocarcinoma cancer cells spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lungs, liver and/or lymph nodes. It is commonly known as stage 4 adenocarcinoma.
Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that starts in glands that line the insides of the organs, per City of Hope’s website.
Jackson was born in Ashland, Kentucky, on Dec. 20, 1959, to Sue Randsell Jackson and Thomas Jackson. He worked for FedEx for multiple years before entering retirement. Not ready to enter full retirement, Jackson began a new career driving a dump truck for Taylor Transport in Cartersville, Georgia.
“Tom absolutely loved being a Papaw to his two grandsons who were his pride and joy,” Jackson’s family wrote, adding that being cast on “Queer Eye” was “a highlight of Tom’s life.”
“He enjoyed the notoriety and shared his experience with whoever would listen!”
Jackson is survived by his daughter, Katie (R.J.) Phelps; two grandsons, Chandler and Watson Phelps; sisters, Kozetta (Jeff) Stewart and Jackie Lynn Childers of Kentucky; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
“The family would like to thank the Kennestone Hospital nursing staff, Dr. Kevin Smith (Palliative Care), Dr. Klass (Oncology), the Trauma Team, the Respiratory Care Team, and each person at Kennestone Hospital who contributed to Tom’s treatment and comfort during his final days,” the obituary concluded. “We will never forget our beloved Tom. He brought joy, humor, persistence, and love to our family. He is special to us, and we look forward to seeing him again one day.”
In lieu of flowers, Jackson’s family asks that people “watch season 1, episode 1 of Queer Eye on Netflix and tell others about it in honor of Tom.”