The storm chasing community is reeling from the news of Joel Taylor’s sudden death. He was 38.
The Elk City, Oklahoma, native, who starred on Discovery Channel’s documentary reality television series Storm Chasers, died on Tuesday, according to his friends who shared the sad news on social media.
The cause of Joel’s death remains unclear at this time. It is not believed to be storm chasing-related.
“We are so saddened to hear about Joel’s passing. We will always remember him fondly as an incredible meteorologist and driver of ‘The Dominator.’ Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time,” reps for the Discovery Channel told PEOPLE.
Best friend and former costar Reed Timmer dedicated a touching message to Taylor on Twitter.
“RIP my best friend and storm chasing partner, Joel Taylor. I am shocked and absolutely devastated by the loss of my incredible, caring friend,” Timmer tweeted along with photos of them when they were chasing storms together since 2008.
“We chased so many intense storms, and I wish we could have just one more storm chase. I’ll miss you forever, Joel. We lost a legend,” added Timmer, who attended the University of Oklahoma with Taylor, who studied meteorology.
Another friend, Mike Olbinski, remembered Taylor’s bright smile.
“I was lucky enough to meet Joel a few years ago at Reed’s wedding. He was so kind to me and we got to hang out for a bit during those few days,” Olbinski tweeted with a photo from the wedding. “I snapped this photo of him and that just seemed like who he was. A huge smile. RIP Joel Taylor…you will be so missed.”
Taylor’s storm chasing team also expressed their condolences.
“Our community of Elk City and the Storm Chasing community lost a great guy today. Joel Taylor was truly an inspiration to myself and many who knew him. He was one of the most level headed chasers on the roads and truly a classy guy outside of chasing,” Team Western OK Chaser shared on Facebook.
“He didn’t chase for the glory he chased because he had a true passion for storms. In the last few years he’d load up with his dad and go chase and not even take a camera,” the group said. “Our hearts are hurting for his mom Tracy and dad Jimmy along with his brother and sister and their children. Please know you are in our prayers. RIP Joel.”
Storm Chasers was filmed each year in the area known as Tornado Alley due to the frequency and severity of tornadoes occurring there in the central part of the country. Several teams of storm chasers appeared in the series and Taylor joined the cast in early 2008 as part of the team from the website TornadoVideos.Net (TVN) that was led by Timmer.
The show was canceled after five seasons in January 2012.