Sad and stunning news out of the world of reality television this week:
Joel Taylor, one of the stars on Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers, died on Monday, according to close friends who shared the tragic development on social media.
He was 38 years old.
The case of Taylor’s death is unknown at this time.
But former colleague Reed Timmer wrote the following on Twitter very late Monday night:
“RIP my best friend and storm chasing partner, Joel Taylor. I am shocked and absolutely devastated by the loss of my incredible, caring friend.
“We chased so many intense storms, and I wish we could have just one more storm chase. I’ll miss you forever, Joel. We lost a legend.”
Timmer attended the University of Oklahoma with Taylor, who studied meteorology.
Another good friend, Mike Olbinski, touched on the topic of Taylor’s memorable smile in his social media tribute to the late reality star.
“I was lucky enough to meet Joel a few years ago at Reed’s wedding. He was so kind to me and we got to hang out for a bit during those few days,” Olbinski captioned an image from the wedding, adding:
“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.”
After graduating from college, Taylor went on to track tornadoes for the aforementioned program as part of a team from the website TornadoVideos.Net.
The Elk City native’s storm chasing team issued a statement on Facebook in light of Taylor’s passing, referring to their late acquaintance as an “inspiration.
This is what the team members wrote:
Our community of Elk City and the Storm Chasing community lost a great guy today. 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’d 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.
Storm Chasers debuted in 2007 and Taylor made his first appearance a year later.
It was canceled by Discovery Channel in 2012.
The series was filmed each year in the area known as “Tornado Alley” due to the frequency and serious nature of tornadoes occurring there in the central part of the country.
Numerous teams of storm chasers were featured on the show over the years.
Amber Kulick, who is studying meteorology in college, Tweeted early this morning:
“I’m literally in tears right now I spent so much time watching storm chasers and that helped feed my want to be a meteorologist I can’t believe Joel Taylor is gone.
“RIP to one of the best.”
We share this same sentiment.
May Joel Taylor rest in peace.