A cocaine smuggler who inspired Johnny Depp film Blow has died aged 78.
George Jung passed away at home on Wednesday morning, May 5, in Boston, the US.
Jung had been in hospice care since the weekend and passed away with his wife Rhonda and friend Roger by his side, TMZ reported.
A quote from the film was posted on his Twitter account, reading: “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. 1942-2021.”
In the early days of his drug dealing, Jung would move cannabis from California to Massachusetts – where it could be sold at a much higher price.
He quickly realised he could make more profit by going to the source and buying his product directly from the producers in Mexico.
On his first flight back to the US in a light plane, Jung lost his way and ended up dangerously lost.
After that, he vowed to only use professional pilots for his fast-growing business – often utilising private planes stolen from airfields around Cape Cod.
However, one of his business contacts was later busted for dealing heroin. As part of a plea deal, he gave up Jung’s name.
In March 1974, while jailed in Danbury, Connecticut, the future kingpin had a fateful meeting.
His cellmate, Carlos Lehder, told Jung about the enormous sums of money to be made in cocaine smuggling.
At the time, most of the coke being smuggled into the US was in suitcases or body packs.
Jung decided to bring his experience in using light aircraft for cannabis smuggling to the cocaine business, and developed a relationship with Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
At the peak of his criminal enterprise, Jung was earning $3 million to $5 million per day.
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Since 1987, Jung had been spent stints in and out of prisons in the US.
He was released in 2014 after serving nearly 20 years inside, but was jailed again in 2016 over a parole violation. Jung was later set free in July 2017.
His story was told in Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All, and then made into the 2001 film with Depp and Penelope Cruz.