Big John From 'Rock of Love' Faced a Life-Threatening Heart Condition

Alex West - Author

Dec. 1 2023, Published 8:27 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Big John was diagnosed with a health condition.
  • He received a heart transplant in 2023.
  • He still works for Bret Michaels.
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During Rock of Love, Big John, also known as John Murray, was right by Bret Michael's side as the artist's assistant and security detail. However, according to his Instagram, Big John also helps out with the band Poison as a whole and Kid Rock. He boasts about having "several artists" under his clientele roster. Plus, he has even "been a member of Pro Wrestling since '97."

As Bret's right hand man and an interesting person on the dating show, Rock of Love fans quickly became attached. Years after the show went off the air, fans can't help but wonder what happened to Big John.

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Where is Big John from 'Rock of Love' now?

In early 2023, Big John revealed on social media that he was struggling with dilated cardiomyopathy. In a heartbreaking Facebook video, he described the condition and the impact it had on his life. Big John explained that the condition meant there was an enlargement in his heart, which caused complications.

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According to Big John, his heart was only wing at 10 percent capacity and as of March 2023, he had at least five heart attacks. Big John attributed the condition to alcohol and drug abuse over the years. He admitted to using the substances to "self-medicate" due to PTSD which he previously didn't believe in.

"Well, when my dad died in 2009, a lot of things, for whatever reason, my mind blocked out and forgot about, came back. I mean they came back like a tidal wave, which is one of the reasons I started drinking so much. It was perfect timing with the TV show and everything. The drinking and drugs went out of control," he said. "There were two reasons. One was the notoriety from the show, and two was because I was trying to forget things. It was the only way I could go to sleep."

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While Big John didn't give an exact time frame for how long he could live with the condition, he said that getting a heart transplant was the only surefire way to make sure the condition didn't result in his death. However, he did use a medical device for a while to help alleviate some of the symptoms.

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In 2018, Big John began using Abbott's CardioMEMS HF System before adding in their HeartMate 3 Left Ventricular Assist Device in 2021, according to a blog post from the company.

“These formed the bridge to the day I got my heart transplant,” he said in a testimonial for the company. “Even though my LVAD was eventually removed, CardioMEMS has stayed with me. It’s continuing to give me time back in my life — it gave me a second chance at life. And I’m not going to waste it.”

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Big John was offered a heart transplant after receiving a call from an unknown number. “I'm sick. I’m trying to go to bed. My phone starts ringing, and I ask who it is, and she says, ‘Tiffany,’” he told Abbott. “And I don’t know any Tiffany.”

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“‘Do you want a heart, John?’" he recalled the voice on the other end asking. Of course, he took up the offer, but by the time he got to the hospital and prepped for surgery, the doctor paused the procedure. There was an issue with the donor heart.

When they brought him back to consciousness, the medical team searched for a new heart that could work. On March 17, 2023, Big John went through a successful surgery and now has a new heart.

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“After the transplant, I wasn’t perfect,” Big John said. “I got pneumonia. I broke my leg. I still deal with the psychological stress. But every day, I say thank you to my donor angel who gave me this heart and a new lease on life, because I want to show that I was worthy of it.”

As for his current status, Big John still lists his job as a personal assistant for Bret on Facebook. According to his profile, he currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Despite working on a dating show with Bret, Big John lists his relationship status as single.

"One of the luckiest people in this World. Thank God for organ donors and heart transplant options," he wrote in his profile bio.

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