Alaskan Bush People star Billy Brown was reportedly in declining health and defying doctor's orders before his death on Sunday, Feb. 7. The 68-year-old Brown family patriarch reportedly insisted on living at a high altitude, even though his doctors told him would be bad for his health. Brown died after suffering a seizure, his son, Bear Brown, announced on Monday.
"We are heartbroken to announce that our beloved patriarch Billy Brown passed away last night after suffering from a seizure. He was our best friend - a wonderful and loving dad, granddad, and husband and he will be dearly missed," Bear's Instagram statement read. "He lived his life on his terms, off the grid, and off the land and taught us to live like that as well." The Discovery Channel also announced Brown's death.
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Brown reportedly told his family was having heart problems in the months before his death, The Sun reported on Jan. 3. According to the outlet, Brown, who had been in and out of the hospital in recent years, struggled to breathe when living high above sea level. He assumed his problems were due to his lungs, but he was diagnosed with a serious heart problem during his last emergency scare, reports The Sun. In past scenes on Alaskan Bush People, Brown and his wife, Ami Brown, told their children Brown's health was not getting better.
Even though moving could have helped him, Billy said he would rather live on a mountain than elsewhere. The Brown children convinced their parents to move their trailer further down the mountain to help him a little bit. Before he got home from the hospital, the children moved the trailer down the mountain before the latest season of Alaskan Bush People aired.
Brown's health problems have been chronicled on the show in the past. Back in March 2019, Brown was shown collapsing when he tried to exit their camper. He struggled to breathe and the Brown children thought he might have contracted pneumonia. During a seven-hour surgery, doctors removed a pound of liquid from one of his lungs.
In September 2019, Bear told fans in an Instagram video that his father was facing another major surgery. "Hey everybody! I thought you said know! We had to take Dad back to the hospital, it looks like they are wanting to admit him and he might need a major surgery," Bear said at the time. A couple of weeks later, Bear shared a photo of Brown with his grandson, Elijah, Noah Brown and Rhain Alisha's son. "Doing better! With the best kind of medicine! A grandbaby," Bear wrote.
At the time, it was not clear what health issues Brown had. He did appear in the most recent season of Alaskan Bush People, which focused on the effects last summer's wildfires and the coronavirus pandemic had on their Washington homestead. In October, the Browns were evacuated from their home due to the fires. "It’s definitely been crazy — a lot has happened. ...We are currently still evacuated," Bird Brown told PopCulture at the time. Rain Brown said they "definitely did get some damage, but not all hope is lost... It's a time to stick together."