Michael Ventrella was crowned The Biggest Loser's ninth-season champion during last night's live finale broadcast of the NBC reality weight-loss series.

The 30-year-old deejay from Chicago, IL -- who started the season as The Biggest Loser's heaviest contestant ever at 526 lbs. -- weighed-in at 262 lbs. during the finale, giving him a 264-pound weight-loss and a 50.19% weight-loss percentage that won him the show's $250,000 grand prize.

"I knew going onto the ranch that I needed to save my life," said Michael when he was introduced during the live finale. 

"The only way to do that was to bare all. I left everything I loved, everything I hated -- I had to get over it. I dedicated myself so much. I had to reach into a place inside of me I didn't think existed. Even to this day, I don't feel like I'm done yet. I'm going to keep going."

Ashley Johnston, a 27-year-old manager/esthetician from Knoxville, TN whose starting weight was 374 lbs., finished as the runner-up. She shed 183 lbs. for a 48.93% weight-loss percentage.

"This is one of the strongest women I've ever met in my life -- strong and beautiful," said Michael about Ashley before his finale weight was revealed.

Daris George, a 25-year-old salesman/deliveryman from Ardmore, OK whose starting weight was 346 lbs., finished third.

Daris became the season's third finalist by defeating Koli Palu in a home viewer vote that took place after last week's episode and lost 158 lbs. for a 48.55% weight-loss percentage.

Despite losing to Daris, Koli won the weigh-in of the season's 19 previously eliminated contestants and thus claimed the $100,000 consolation prize.

Koli, a 29-year-old football coach and head of security from Rohnert Park, CA whose starting weight was 403 lbs., dropped 215 lbs. for a 53.35% weight-loss percentage that would have ranked him ahead of Michael if he had won the home viewer vote.

The start and finish weights and final weight-loss percentages of the other previously eliminated contestants are as follows.

Cherita Andrews, a 50-year-old homemaker from Houston, TX whose starting weight was 277 lbs., lost 91 for a 32.85% weight-loss percentage, while her daughter Vicky Andrews, a 22-year-old student from Houston whose starting weight was 358 lbs., dropped 126 for a 37.99% weight-loss percentage.
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Sherry Johnston, a 51-year-old non-profit administrator from Knoxville, TN whose starting weight was 218 lbs., shed 99 for a 45.41 weight-loss percentage, while Maria Ventrella, a 51-year-old corporate travel agent Rohnert Park, CA whose starting weight was 281 lbs., lost 114 for a 40.57% weight-loss percentage.

Patti Anderson, a 55-year-old business owner from Lafayette, CA whose starting weight was 243 lbs., dropped 73 for a 30.04% weight-loss percentage, while her daughter Stephanie Anderson, a 29-year-old radio sales executive from West Hollywood, CA whose starting weight was 264 lbs., lost 99 for a 37.50% weight-loss percentage.

James Crutchfield, a 30-year-old human resources director from Orlando, FL whose starting weight was 485 lbs., lost 128 for a 26.89% weight-loss percentage, while his twin brother John Crutchfield, a 30-year-old senior marketing manager from Orlando whose starting weight was 484 lbs., shed 149 for a 30.79% weight-loss percentage.

Melissa Morgan, a 39-year-old attorney from Aspermont, TX whose staring weight was 233 lbs., dropped 90 for a 38.63% weight-loss percentage, while her husband Lance Morgan, a 38-year-old rancher from Aspermont whose starting weight was 365 lbs., lost 128 for a 35.07% weight-loss percentage.

Migdalia Sebren, a 28-year-old homemaker from Sanford, NC whose starting weight was 240 lbs., shed 91 for a 37.92% weight-loss percentage, while her daughter Miggy Cancel, a 48-year-old chef from Pemberton, NJ whose starting weight was 265 lbs., dropped 52 for a 19.62% weight-loss percentage.

O'Neal Hampton, Jr., a 51-year-old U.S. Postal Service station manager from Minneapolis, MN whose starting weight was 389 lbs., lost 159 for a 40.87% weight-loss percentage, while his daughter SunShine Hampton, a 24-year-old restaurant server from Minneapolis whose starting weight was 275 lbs. shed 114 for a 41.45% weight-loss percentage.

Darrell Hough, a 46-year-old press operator/mechanic from Ann Arbor, MI whose starting weight was 413 lbs., lost 189 for a 45.76% weight-loss percentage, while and his daughter Andrea Hough, a 24-year-old executive assistant from Ann Arbor whose starting weight was 298 lbs., dropped 84 for a 28.19% weight-loss percentage.

Cheryl George, a 50-year-old store owner from Ardmore, OK whose starting weight was 227 lbs., shed 76 for a 33.48% weight-loss percentage, while  Sam Poueu, a 24-year-old youth football coach and security guard from Rohnert Park, CA whose starting weight was 372 lbs., shed 142 for a 38.17% weight-loss percentage.

In addition, former eighth-season contestant Shauntina "Shay" Sorrells weighed-in as part of a challenge Subway presented to her at the eighth-season finale in which she would receive $1,000 for each pound lost between then and now.

Shay left the eighth-season finale at 304 lbs. and lost 52 lbs., which earned her $52,000.  However Subway spokesman Jared Fogle then offered Shay the chance to double her money if she would agree to run a marathon with him by the end of the year -- a challenge she readily accepted.