Billy Brown, the patriarch in the reality-documentary series “Alaskan Bush People,” which follows an isolated Alaskan family, died Sunday night after suffering a seizure. He was 68.
“We are devastated to hear of Billy Brown’s sudden passing,” a Discovery spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “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.”
“Alaskan Bush People,” which began airing in 2014, follows the patriarch and rest of the Brown family, including his wife, Ami, and their seven grown children who are “unlike any other family in America,” according to the Discovery Channel. Far removed from civilization and often going months at a time without seeing others, they refer to themselves as a “wolf pack.” The Browns have been living in the Copper River Valley, where temperatures can drop as far as 60 degrees below zero, for 30 years. Their previous home of many years was seized and razed for being in the wrong location on public land.
In 2017, the Brown family was also rattled by Ami’s advanced lung cancer diagnosis, which was revealed after she experienced months of inexplicable pain. After her diagnosis, the family permanently relocated from their home in rural Alaska to Washington, buying a 435-acre property in the North Cascade Mountains, so that Ami could receive medical treatment. She announced she was in remission in late 2018.