Joel Taylor: Storm Chaser star found dead on Royal Caribbean cruise

Local police say Oklahoma native's body discovered while ship was docked in Puerto Rico

Maya Oppenheim
Thursday 25 January 2018 13:13
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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
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

One of the stars of American reality TV series Storm Chasers has been found dead on a cruise ship in Puerto Rico.

Joel Taylor, an Oklahoma native who appeared on the Discovery Channel series, died at the age of 38 on Tuesday but the circumstances of his death were initially unclear and an autopsy has yet to be carried out.

Local police told NBC News Taylor was found dead on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

“As is our standard procedure, law enforcement was notified and responded to the ship when it arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday January 23,” Owen Torres, manager of global corporate communications for Royal Caribbean Cruises, told the news outlet.

He added: “We extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the 38-year-old male guest from the United States who died while onboard Harmony of the Seas”.

At the time of Taylor’s death, the cruise liner was hosting Atlantis Events’ all-gay Caribbean Cruise which left Fort Lauderdale in Florida on 20 January.

Olivia Newton-John, who played the lead role of Sandy in cult 1978 film Grease, headlined a concert on the cruise alongside Swedish electronic dance music duo Galantis.

Taylor’s best friend and former co-star Reed Timmer penned a touching 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”.

The programme Storm Chasers follows a number of teams of extreme weather fanatics as they try to intercept tornadoes in places in the US where they are most frequent. The series was cancelled by Discovery in 2012 after five seasons.

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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