A man who ran the popular science-focused YouTube channel, “the King of Random,” died Monday in a paragliding crash in southern Utah, authorities said.
Jonathan Grant Thompson, 38, the creator of the King of Random YouTube channel, was identified as the paraglider whose body was recovered near Sand Hollow State Park, Washington County Sheriff Lt. Dave Crouse told BuzzFeed News.
Authorities were alerted to a missing paraglider on Monday night after the pilot was reported to have taken flight from the Dixie Springs subdivision near the state park.
The caller reported that the man was overdue by an hour and wasn’t answering his phone. Officers from the Hurricane Police Department and Bureau of Land Management responded to the area.
Using the last-known GPS coordinates for the man’s phone, volunteers with the sheriff’s search and rescue team located his body.
Sheriff’s officials are continuing to investigate the incident and review video from the paragliding equipment to determine what caused the aircraft to crash.
Thompson created the King of Random YouTube channel in 2010. Since then he and his production team have made hundreds of videos featuring science experiments, life hacks, and other projects like how to open a coconut without any tools and how to make gummy LEGOs.
The channel has more than 11 million subscribers and more than 2 billion views.
On Tuesday, the channel posted a video announcing Thompson’s death.
“Grant had great love and appreciation for his fans. We invite you to share your thoughts for Grant and the channel in the comments,” the channel said. “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.”
News of his death sparked tributes from fans and other creators. In a tweet, YouTube described Thompson as a “gifted, passionate and endlessly curious creator.”
“We send our deepest condolences to his loving family, The King of Random team and fans,” the platform said.
“He was passionate and fearless with videos that inspired millions of future scientists,” tweeted Matthew Patrick, creator of the Game Theorists YouTube channel. “You’re gone FAR too soon, but the HUGE positive impact you made will be felt for a long time.”
Thousands of fans offered their condolences in the King of Random’s comment section, and recalled the impact Thompson’s videos had in their lives.
“Every time this man uploaded, I got excited to see what could learn,” user Xx_Venomous _Snake_xX wrote. “Rest in peace King you will not be forgotten.”
“You made my childhood,” another user BobRoss sauce68 said, adding that Thompson was their “idol who inspired my creativity.”
“much love R.I.P the king,” they said.