Minutes after the news of “Buckwild” star Shain Gandee’s death, fans blew up in disbelief. But what many MTV fans saw as an awful April Fools’ joke turned out to be the tragic truth.
After going missing, the beloved reality TV star was found dead Monday (April 1) morning in his Ford Bronco with two others, one believed to be his uncle. Police were told by bar patrons that the 21-year-old and his uncle were going off-roading at 3 a.m. Sunday.
The Sissonville, West Virginia, man was best known for his southern accent, goofy smile and love for “mudding,” the dirty four-wheeling excursions he took with his castmates and friends. “Shain had a magnetic personality, with a passion for life that touched everyone he met and we will miss him dearly,” MTV said in a statement.
Arguably the most popular character on the show, fans took to the Internet to share their shock and to reach out to those close to Shain.
“Praying for Shain’s family and friends!!! He will be greatly missed!!! He made the Buckwild show!!!” Patricia wrote on MTV News’ site, while Justin added, “he lived life while he lived.RIP SHAIN.”
“This is terrible! i cant believe we lost him, such a funny and spirited individual!” Ashley wrote. “more than anything im sad for his family..”
Shain didn’t play up his “redneck” character, but merely embraced who he was, never altering his southern roots, and that meant a lot for many fans.
“I wish I lived closer I’d go to the funeral . This a worse shock to the redneck community than Dale Earnhardts death because he was so damn young n full of life,” Eric wrote. “Shain was such a good driver I cant believe this happened. I feel as if I lost a member of my family. Life and this world will never be the same without him RIP Shain YoU WILL BE MISSED.”
Fans who didn’t know Shain personally still felt like they were losing a family member or friend.
“it’s so sad! I feel like I lost one of my friends because he acted just like most of my friends,” tweeted Timbra Sierra.
Friend Autumn Martin took to Twitter with her heartbreak. “I can’t breathe. I can’t move. This can’t be real. Nobody was a better person than Shain. Nobody.”
Share your favorite Shain memory in the comments.