The American actor Ryan Dunn, star of the hit MTV series and film franchise Jackass, was killed in a car crash in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The 34-year-old Dunn, a daredevil who, along with his cast-mates made viewers cringe and snicker through outlandish stunts in the globally successful show, was driving his 2007 Porsche in suburban Philadelphia when it went off the road into the woods and burst into flames.
Police found the vehicle "fully engulfed in flames" upon arrival in a wooded area in the West Goshen Township. An unidentified passenger also died in the crash at 2:38 am local time. A police statement said a "preliminary investigation revealed that speed may have been a contributing factor to the accident".
Dunn appeared on the MTV shows Jackass and Viva La Bam and the three Jackass big-screen adaptations. He also was the star of his own MTV show, Homewrecker, and hosted Proving Ground on the G4 cable network.
Perhaps his most famous stunt, in 2002's Jackass: The Movie, involved inserting a toy car into his rectum and going to an emergency room, where he made up a story that he was in mysterious pain after passing out at a fraternity party. Dunn's X-ray from the hospital became a popular T-shirt with Jackass fans.
In a 2000 stunt, he dived into a tank at a raw sewage plant wearing flippers, a mask and a snorkel.
In a statement, MTV praised Dunn's tireless humour and enthusiasm and said he would be sorely missed. "We are devastated by the tragic loss of Ryan Dunn – a beloved member of the MTV family for more than a decade," said Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks Music/Films /Logo Group. "The Jackass brotherhood will never be the same."
The Ohio-born Dunn posted a photo to his Twitter account shortly before the crash which seemed to show him drinking with friends. In 2005, Dunn was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and entered a first offender's programme that allowed him to clear his record after a certain period of good behaviour.