ST. GEORGE, Utah—A Utah sheriff’s official says the creator of the YouTube channel “King of Random” shot video that showed his fatal paragliding crash and that it indicates the craft crashed quickly after its chute collapsed.
Washington County sheriff’s officials are investigating the Monday death of 38-year-old Jonathan Grant Thompson, whose videos of experiments and hands-on tips have been watched over a billion times.
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It is with great sadness to inform everyone that Grant Thompson passed away last night. Grant had great love and appreciation for his fans. We invite you to share your thoughts for Grant and the channel in the comments. Please do a random act of love or kindness today in honor of The King of Random. Grant’s legacy will live on in the channel and the global community he created.
Sheriff’s Lt. David Crouse told The Associated Press on Saturday that it appears a change of wind caused the paraglider’s chute to collapse and that Thompson tried to deploy a reserve chute but didn’t have time before plunging about 100 feet (30 meters) to the ground.
Crouse said Thompson never regained consciousness after crashing and that the video belongs to Thompson’s family and won’t be released by authorities.
King of Random
Thompson was from Hurricane, Utah, and his channel boasted more than 11 and a half million subscribers and almost 2.5 billion views, featuring videos on “life hacks, experiments, and random weekend projects.” He started the channel in 2010 and later became a full time “YouTuber,” permanently leaving his job as an airline pilot.
“We make videos dedicated to exploring life through all kinds of life hacks, experiments, and random weekend projects,” reads Thompson’s channel description. “There is excitement found in discovering the unknown, and living to tell about it, so join us and let’s building something together.”
“It is with great sadness to inform everyone that Grant Thompson passed away last night. Grant had great love and appreciation for his fans. We invite you to share your thoughts for Grant and the channel in the comments,” read a statement on the official “King of Random” Instagram account on July 30. “Grant’s legacy will live on in the channel and the global community he created.”
YouTube’s official Twitter account offered their condolences, their message read: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Grant Thompson, a gifted, passionate and endlessly curious creator. We send our deepest condolences to his loving family, The King of Random team and fans.”
We’re deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Grant Thompson, a gifted, passionate and endlessly curious creator. We send our deepest condolences to his loving family, The King of Random team and fans. https://t.co/pUY4q1EWcU pic.twitter.com/oL3VVSXacf
— YouTube (@YouTube) July 30, 2019
A video in Memoriam was created in his channel, which was recently being hosted by other people. His brother told TMZ that he got into paragliding about 5 months ago and was interested in skydiving, flying, and other airborne activities.
In an interview with Mediakix on 2017, Thompson explained his story briefly: “My basic life story is: bullied at school, went off on my own, learned how to do extreme sports, got into flying, became an airline pilot. I worked as an airline pilot for 11 years. Then I got into real estate and bought and sold houses. I had 11 houses that I rented out. I had enough money coming in that we kind of like semi-retired.
“Then I just started tinkering and learning about how the world works, which was inspired kind of by the idea of the Great Recession from the housing collapse. I was learning about things. I started making videos on YouTube showing people what I was tinkering with and what I was coming up with. It turned into a big enough movement that I shut down my real estate business, I quit the airlines, and now it’s all YouTube.”
— GWP DIGITAL (@DigitalGwp) July 31, 2019
The Associated Press and NTD reporter Samuel Allegri contributed to this report.