Sam Gannon, a UK actor best known for his role in the drama series “Emmerdale,” suddenly died on Tuesday while visiting the United States, according to his family. He was 31.
Gannon had been staying with family in Willow, California, when he tragically passed away, said Amy Kelly, the late actor’s 34-year-old sister.
“Sam was a whirlwind, a unique character to say the least,” Kelly said, The Yorkshire Post reported.
“He genuinely cared for others and was a very sensitive soul,” she added. “It is clear from the tributes we have received that he touched the hearts of so many.”
The full circumstances around his death are currently being investigated by local police, who said the death isn’t being treated as suspicious.
Lewis Matthews, a friend of Gannon, described him in a tribute as “a real-life Duracell bunny with a seemingly endless supply of energy and love.”
“He delighted audiences with his charm, wit, and his wonderful musical abilities,” said Matthews.
After news of his death broke, the family of Gannon launched a crowdfunding appeal on “JustGiving” in order to help repatriate his body back to the UK and cover funeral costs.
“We are putting the target as £17,000 [about $20,500] as we do not yet know the actual cost,” the page reads, adding that any extra funds donated would be put toward a UK charity supporting youth theater, which the page described as “a cause close to Sam’s heart.”
Gannon appeared as Kev, a horse-drawn carriage coachman, in “Emmerdale” in January 2019. He acted opposite star Emma Atkins as her character Charity Dingle.
Absolutely over the moon ???? ???? ???? https://t.co/EJsTq4ZftT
— Sam Gannon (@SamGannon2) November 8, 2018
The Briton of Brayton, North Yorkshire, also had a role in the short film “Talking with Angels” with TV star John Thomson.
Gannon leaves behind his mother, Angie, two brothers, Jason and Jordan, partner and “love of his life” Zoe, nieces Matilda and Bethany, and nephews Louis and Evan.
Tributes flocked in on the actor’s crowdfunding page, with one of Gannon’s relatives saying he was “an absolutely brilliant guy when I knew him over 10 years ago.”
“So much passion and talent,” said Ben Bradshaw. “Performed with him in a few productions and he’s such a talented guy. So sorry to all his family and friends.”