On May 5, George Jung, the inspiration for the popular movie “Blow” starring Johnny Depp, passed away at the age of 78.
Jung was an infamous cocaine smuggler who spent 20 years in prison because he ran drugs for the Medellin Cartel back in the 1970s and ’80s. His code name was “Boston George” and he was responsible for helping the drug lord Pablo Escobar touch down massive planes full of coke into the U.S.
Bruce Porter created a book about George Jung and his time in the cocaine business called “Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellín Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All.” In 2001, the movie “Blow” came out directed by Ted Demme, and starring Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Franka Potente, and Cliff Curtis. Jung was a big fan and promoter of the movie, although it was a bit of a box office fail.
George Jung had been dangerously intertwined in the world of hard drugs. It would eventually be a contributing factor to his death.
According to TMZ, he died of kidney failure due to advanced liver disease. His cause of death on his death certificate states a hepatorenal failure as a result of alcoholic cirrhosis killed him. He had been an alcoholic and this intense exposure to alcohol would cause his organs to shut down. Jung had liver and kidney problems before his death.
Jung’s last major arrest was in the mid-1990s and he served 20 years before being released in 2014. Then he was back two years later for a parole violation. Since 2017, he was out from behind bars.
George Jung Family and After the Crime
According to The New York Times, George Jung was involved with the largest drug-smuggling ring in the Western Hemisphere. The cartel got $420 million a week, which was about $22 billion a year. Jung and the cartel, which was bloody and money-hungry, provided cocaine to many of the rich and famous individuals at the time.
Despite being involved with the cartel and the murderous Pablo Escobar, Jung never publically stated he regretted his involvement with the deadly drug trade. “I don’t call myself a gangster. I’m an outlaw. Bob Dylan said when you live outside the law, you must be honest. A gangster is a person who steals and cheats and takes. I never took. I just gave,” George Jung said to the Boston Globe in 1993.
George Jung is survived by his daughter, Kristina Sunshine Jung. She was mostly raised by her mother, Mirtha Jung, who was George Jung’s former wife. Sadly, Jung’s granddaughter, Athena Karan, was killed in a car accident in January at the age of 19.
Jung was just from a small town in Massachusetts. Somehow from there, he gets closely intertwined with one of the largest drug trafficking businesses ever. Believe it or not, when he went to visit his old hometown, he still got a warm welcome. He went to his childhood home to film the documentary, “Boston George: Famous Without the Fortune,” which is not yet released.