Billy Brown, ‘Alaskan Bush People’ Patriarch, Dies At 68

Billy Brown, ‘Alaskan Bush People’ Patriarch, Dies At 68

Billy first appeared on Discovery‘s 'Alaskan Bush People' in 2014 and starred on the show for 12 seasons.

Discovery reality series Alaskan Bush People patriarch Billy Brown has died. The father-of-seven was 68 years old when he died on Sunday following a seizure. “We are heartbroken to announce that our beloved patriarch Billy Brown passed away last night after suffering from a seizure,” Bear Brown, one of Billy’s sons, shared on Instagram with a photo of his parents, reports PEOPLE. “He was our best friend — a wonderful and loving dad, granddad, and husband and he will be dearly missed. He lived his life on his terms, off the grid, and off the land and taught us to live like that as well," continued Bear, 33. "We plan to honor his legacy going forward and to continue with his dream. We ask for privacy and prayers during this painful time. God Bless Everyone!"


The Bear family rose to fame when their hit reality series debuted on Discovery Channel in 2014. "We are devastated to hear of Billy Brown's sudden passing," a spokesperson for Discovery said in a statement to PEOPLE. "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 and loved him as they deal with this devastating loss."


The family has struggled with medical issues in the past where Ami, 57, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer back in 2017. "I had some pain in my back," she told PEOPLE at the time. "Walking from the house to the garden, I would get winded. There were days I was just bedridden, but I just thought it was my arthritis. We were filming the show and at times it was all I could do to just stand there — I was in so much pain. When we were shooting promo shots I told them, 'There's something wrong.' In December [2016] I went to the dentist to get impressions made for new teeth and when they did a scan they noticed a little capsule. That's how this all started." Ami was told she was cancer-free at the end of 2018.


As for the passing of the patriarch, Billy Brown will be remembered as an expert outdoorsman and author. He also spent years as a commercial fisherman in the northern Pacific. While he grew up in Texas he suffered a tragedy at the age of 16. His family died in a plane crash. After meeting his wife Ami in Texas, they decided to move to Alaska where they raised their family of 5 sons and 2 daughters. "As long as Ami and my family are beside me, I'll ride the wind of adventure to the end," he said in an earlier interview. 


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