The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department told MTV News that the bodies of Gandee, 21, his uncle, David Gandee, 48, and a yet-unidentified third individual were discovered inside a vehicle located in a very remote area off a dirt road, lending credence to earlier eyewitness accounts that Gandee had told patrons at a local bar that he was going off-roading. It was the last time he’d be seen alive, and while sad, it’s also proof that despite his growing fame , the guy known as “Gandee Candy” never strayed far from his roots.
Even before his time on “Buckwild,” Gandee was well-known around Sissonville and surrounding communities. He worked as a garbage collector and a coal miner, and, according to his MTV bio, was elected prom king at his high school — but missed the dance because he had to work.
“My life’s pretty fun,” Gandee told MTV News back in January, just before “Buckwild” was set to premiere. “I don’t want it to change.”
That interview marked Gandee’s first visit to New York City — he marveled at the sheer amount of taxis he saw while walking around the city, but added there were “too many people” for his liking — and, as viewers of the MTV show would quickly learn, he was country to the core, the kind of guy who seemed more at home back in his “Holler” than the bustle of Times Square. In fact, when asked if he and his “Buckwild” castmates felt any pressure following in the footsteps of the “Jersey Shore” stars, Gandee was the first to admit that he’d barely seen the show.
“I really didn’t watch it. I was usually outside, doing something else. Kicking sticks, throwing rocks or something,” he laughed. “I just watch the Speed Channel, ’cause it’s trucks, loud motors, mud holes … the stuff I’m into.”
On the day he went missing, Gandee was in Crown City, Ohio, where he attended the grand opening of Gandee’s General Store, owned and operated by his second cousin and her husband. Gandee signed autographs and greeted fans who came from Cincinnati and Pennsylvania to meet him.
And while the details surrounding his death will surely come to light in the coming weeks, on Monday, family and friends are remembering a guy who lived life to the fullest. Gandee’s death was met with much sorrow , both from the fans who delighted in his exploits on “Buckwild” and the folks who knew him best. MTV released a statement that recalled his “magnetic personality [and] passion for life,” and friends like Autumn Martin remembered Gandee as someone who never let the trappings of fame go to his head.
“Nobody was a better person than Shain,” she wrote on Twitter. “Nobody.”
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