The Associated Press reported earlier today that Shain Gandee, a star of MTV’s West Virginia reality show Buckwild, had last been seen in the early hours of Sunday morning at a bar — but it wasn’t long before TMZ posted the sad news that Gandee had been found dead on Monday morning. Gandee and two others — including his uncle David Gandee, 48 — were in a vehicle found in Sissonville, W.Va. The news was confirmed by the Kanawha County Commissioner.
As MTV reports, the cause of death has not yet been declared. The network issued a statement that the reality-show cast member “had a magnetic personality, with a passion for life that touched everyone he met.”
Buckwild follows a group of friends in West Virginia as they try to entertain themselves in their small town. The second season of the show had been announced in February, shortly before the finale of the first. The network described Gandee, prior to the first season’s premiere, as a happy young man:
Everyone in Sissonville, W.Va., knows Shain. Sociable and loyal, he was the high school prom king, but missed the dance because he had to work. He’s done every job from coal mining to being a garbage man but as long as he is using his hands, he’s happy. He loves mudding, hunting and four-wheeling but most of all he loves his parents, who live three doors down.
According to Buzzfeed, the network would not comment on the future given today’s news.
UPDATE: MTV has suspended, indefinitely, production of the show’s second season—preliminary work had started last week. The first season of Buckwild averaged 3.2 million viewers per episode and was the network’s top-rated show among viewers between the ages of 12 and 34.