One of the stars of American documentary reality TV series Storm Chasers has died at the age of just 38.
Joel Taylor, an Oklahoma native who starred on the Discovery Channel series, is believed to have died on Tuesday but the cause of his death remains unclear at present.
His death is not believed to be related to storm chasing.
The programme Storm Chasers follows a number of teams of storm chasers as they try to intercept tornadoes in places in America where tornadoes are most frequent.
Taylor’s best friend and former co-star Reed Timmer penned a poignant message to his “storm chasing partner” on Twitter.
Timmer, who attended the University of Oklahoma with Taylor, said: “RIP my best friend and storm chasing partner, Joel Taylor. I am shocked and absolutely devastated by the loss of my incredible, caring friend”.
Taylor and Timmer starred on several seasons of Storm Chasers - beginning with its second season in 2008. The series was cancelled by Discovery in 2012 after five seasons.
Mike Olbinski, another friend of Taylor, paid tribute to him and said the news of his death was “utterly devastating”. He posted a picture of Taylor attending Timmer’s wedding to former Fox News Channel meteorologist Maria Molina in December 2015.
“I was lucky enough to meet Joel a few years ago at Reed’s wedding,” Olbinski said in the caption. “He was so kind to me and we got to hang out for a bit during those few days. I snapped this photo of him and that just seemed like who he was. A huge smile. RIP Joel Taylor … You will be so missed.”
Team Western OK Chaser, a storm chasing community in Oklahoma, paid tribute to Taylor.
“Our community of Elk City and the Storm Chasing community lost a great guy today,” the group said on their Facebook page. “Joel Taylor was truly an inspiration to myself and many who knew him. He was one of the most level-headed chasers on the roads and truly a classy guy outside of chasing.”
“He didn’t chase for the glory, he chased because he had a true passion for storms. In the last few years he would load up with his dad and go chase and not even take a camera. Our hearts are hurting for his mom Tracy and dad Jimmy along with his brother and sister and their children. Please know you are in our prayers. RIP Joel.”
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