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Does Jelly Roll have heart issues?

Jelly Roll’s heart issues explained:


Nashville rapper and country icon Jelly Roll has a big personality and a pretty hefty discography.

And with a name like Jelly Roll, fans would be right to assume his weight has always been a big part of his identity.

Then, in 2017, Jelly Roll was able to shave an impressive 180 pounds off his frame with a steady lifestyle of healthy eating and intense exercise.

What spurred on the change?

That question got a lot of Jelly Roll’s fans wondering: does Jelly Roll have heart issues?

Is this a medical thing?

Is Jelly Roll okay?

Here’s what we know.

Short Bio

Jelly Roll Heart Issues


Jason “Jelly Roll” DeFord was born on December 4, 1984, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Raised in the southside community of Antioch, things were pretty tough for DeFord when he was growing up.

Coming from a middle- to lower-class family, he was the youngest of four kids.

His dad was a meat salesman in the family business—DeFord Wholesale Meats—and his mom was a housewife who faced her own struggles with mental health issues and addiction.

As a teen and young adult, Jason faced issues of his own.

He has lost “years of my life” to drugs and spent over a decade on and off in prison.

One of Jason’s clearest observations as a kid growing up in his area was that “nobody had [expletive]” unless they got it from selling drugs. So he sold drugs, too.

By the time Jelly Roll was able to get clean and turn his life around, he realized there were only two things he was good at: talking and making music.

Music became his lifeline, his way of working through deep seated issues, and also an opportunity to finally make something of himself.

The Music


After a prison officer came to tell him he’d become a father while he was locked up, he committed to finally getting things right in life.

He remembered his mother sitting in the kitchen listening to classic rock, country, and Motown.

He wanted to make people feel the way his mom felt when she listened to the radio—it became his biggest motivation to make a go of his musical career.

Over the next decade, Jelly Roll would move from rock to rap to country, and do it all with ease.

From his early days collaborating with Lil Wyte and finally getting some exposure on social media, to his hit single Come Here White Girl with SNO—a track that would go on to make XXL’s Top 10 Most Memorable White Rapper Collab list.

Throw in a handful of collaborations with rap industry icons like Tech N9ne and Eminem, an ongoing music relationship with Struggle Jennings, and a breath-taking 17 albums, and you’ve got the makings of an incredible music career.

The Weighty Question

is jelly roll having heart issues


In an interview with Bobby Bones in May of 2022, the charismatic rap star joked about how his mom nicknamed him Jelly Roll as a kid.

“I’ve been fat my whole life,” said the Son of a Sinner rapper.

Jelly Roll—whose real name is Jason DeFord—had grown into even heftier proportions by the time he hit high school.

A buddy of his, who he laughingly refers to as One Armed Clay, called him the nickname that only his family had ever used, and it stuck.

Jelly Roll joked to Bobby Bones that he had spent his life trying to live up to the name, laughingly claiming, “I think I’ve done it.”

And he has.

By 2016, Jelly Roll was weighing in at 450 pounds.

And a few years after his dramatic weight loss reveal in 2017—where he had slimmed down to 270 pounds—he was back on the scales.

This time, however, things had moved in the wrong direction: Jelly Roll weighed 478 pounds in July of 2020.

Jelly Roll: Heart Issues

After Jelly Roll’s 2020 weigh-in, he posted a message to his fans and followers on social media:

“My wife and I had a serious talk about my health last night, it was painful but honest, and I appreciated it. Today she is prepping my meals, it’s day 1 of me taking back control of my life and addressing my weight problem. I will be sharing and updating my results with Twitter.”

In the past, Jelly Roll has also spoken honestly about other health issues.

jelly roll heart issues and wife


In an earlier post, DeFord explained that the stress of going broke after the Addiction Kills tour, losing friends and family, and the feeling that he let his family down led to what he thought was a heart attack.

It was Atrial Fibrillation.

Jason explained that he had “something wrong with the electrical side of my heart” and was scheduled for an operation.

He also used this serious health warning to give up drinking, reduce his financial stress, and lose weight again.

READ MORE: Jelly Roll’s single Son of a Sinner

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation—often referred to as A-fib—is a very rapid, very irregular heart rhythm that can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and blood clots in the heart.

Atrial fibrillation causes the heart’s atria (the upper chambers) to beat irregularly, which leads sufferers to feel heart palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, and weakness.

Atrial fibrillation can come and go, and some sufferers may never even realize they have it.

While A-fib isn’t life-threatening, it is a major medical condition that requires treatment.

Symptoms of Atrial fibrillation include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fluttering or pounding heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness in the limbs

Is He Okay?

jelly roll hospital


While the gregarious and charismatic country rap icon may be suffering from atrial fibrillation, obesity, and the ongoing effects of a decade of drug addiction, he is managing to turn his life around.

Following his 60-pound weight loss in 2021, his move to stay sober in 2022, and his commitment to getting healthy alongside his wife, Bunnie Xo, all signs are pointing in the right direction for the Son of a Sinner artist.

The prolific storyteller no doubt put his body under immense strain with the stress of his early financial issues, an addiction to Xanax and cocaine, and decades of being overweight—but his transformation could see the rebirth of a better (and hopefully half-sized—Jelly Roll.

READ THIS NEXT: How much does Jelly Roll weigh?