By Danielle Cantey

An example of 'mudding,' or off-roading, which is what MTV Star Shain Gandee was doing when he died/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Ryan Rowley

An example of ‘mudding,’ or off-roading, which is what MTV Star Shain Gandee was doing when he died./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Ryan Rowley

Shain Gandee one of the stars of MTV’s wildly popular reality show BUCKWILD , which chronicles the antics of a group of young West Virginians, was found dead along with two others in his truck Monday. The cause of death appears to be a result of mudding (off-roading) gone wrong. Gandee and his companions were found in his wrecked truck with the tailpipe of the truck completely submerged in mud. Reports show that carbon monoxide poisoning from the submerged tailpipe was the cause of death, according to an USA Today article.

Shain, nicknamed “Gandee Candy” for his charm and prankster antics, was a fan favorite on the show. He represented the simple and down-to-earth character. He was the shy, sweet, good- natured member of the BUCKWILD crew. In the premier episode of BUCKWILD, he talked about how he loved rural life in the “holler,” a term he used to refer to the convenient ability to simply yell down the street in order to communicate with neighbors. He was also known for his ability to have a good time and his enthusiasm for trying new stunts. In one episode he rolls down a hill in a giant tire with the gang. He, like many other cast members, enjoyed mudding. In episode eight of the show, he says goodbye to his eighth truck nicknamed “danger ranger” after it breaks down from the strains of constant mudding and rough driving.

The whole cast embodies the fast-paced, care-free, risk-taking attitude that society often associates with youth. In fact, they engaged in so many high risk antics that the show has a disclaimer at the beginning warning that the “wild and crazy behavior” featured in the show could result in “serious personal injury or property damage”  viewers are urged against replicating these activities. Because of this, BUCKWILD has faced criticism. While the risky antics portrayed in the show can desensitize us to the dangers of various stunts, tragedies like this one often remind us that we are not invincible.

It is always heartbreaking and unexpected when a life is cut short. It’s especially shocking when it’s someone who is young, like we are. Shain’s death is newsworthy not only because he was on TV, but also because it is jarring when someone who is young dies while doing the same stunts that many people do daily for fun. Taping for season two of BUCKWILD  has been suspended; there is currently no word as to when it may resume.