Alaskan Bush People fans are mourning the sudden loss of Billy Brown after the Discovery star died at the age of 68 following a seizure, his son Bear announced Monday. "We are heartbroken to announce that our beloved patriarch Billy Brown passed away last night after suffering from a seizure," wrote Bear on Instagram alongside a photo of his father and mom Ami Brown.
"He was our best friend — a wonderful and loving dad, granddad and husband and he will be dearly missed," Bear continued. "He lived his life on his terms, off the grid and off the land and taught us to live like that as well. We plan to honor his legacy going forward, and to continue with his dream." During this "painful time," Bear asked that people offer his family privacy and prayers, ending with a blessing to all his followers.
The Alaskan Bush People Twitter account shared soon after that the show was "devastated" to hear of Billy's passing. Calling him a "trailblazer," "lovely man" and "one of a kind," the show extended its condolences to the Brown family and friends as they mourn the shocking loss.
We are devastated to hear of Billy Brown’s sudden passing.
He has been part of the @Discovery family for years - a trailblazer, a lovely man, and most definitely one of a kind. Our heart is with his family and those that knew him as they deal with this devastating loss. pic.twitter.com/23Kaz67ekz— Alaskan Bush People (@AlaskanBushPPL) February 8, 2021
It was a difficult year for the Brown family, who were evacuated from their home in rural Washington due to wildfires in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sisters Rain and Snowbird Brown told PopCulture in October that while it was easy to social distance in their remote home, the siblings were taking extra care to stay healthy, as Billy had been previously hospitalized for respiratory issues.
"[My parents] are holding up — air quality is a big factor for my dad," Rain said, adding that their days together have consisted of "a lot of love and a lot of oxygen." Bird added of her parents, "I feel like they're always the anchors. They're always assuring us that things are going to be OK, even when we want to assure them things are OK."
In January, The Sun reported that Billy's children were concerned for his health following his most recent hospitalization, during which he was diagnosed with a serious heart problem in addition to his longstanding lung issues. Despite the doctor's concerns about his living at a high elevation, Billy reportedly insisted on living in the family's mountain home, but did agree to let his children move the trailer down the mountainside.