YouTube's 'King of Random' Star Grant Thompson Dies at 38 After Paragliding Accident

Since joining the video platform in January 2010, Thompson garnered over 11 million subscribers

grant thompson
Photo: Grant Thompson/Instagram

The YouTube community is mourning the loss of one of their most popular content creators, Grant Thompson, after he died this week in a paragliding accident. He was 38.

Thompson, who is best known for creating and starring in videos on his YouTube account King of Random, passed away on Monday evening, his family confirmed on his social media pages.

“It is with great sadness to inform everyone that Grant Thompson passed away last night,” they wrote alongside a YouTube video tribute of the beloved internet star. “Grant had great love and appreciation for his fans.”

“We invite you to share your thoughts for Grant and the channel in the comments,” his family continued. “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,” they added.

Though the family did not provide any further details around Thompson’s death, TMZ reports that the YouTube star died in a paragliding accident.

On Monday, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Utah told the outlet that a call came in regarding an overdue paraglider who reportedly went off the radar near Sand Hollow State Park.

The caller told officials that the paraglider should have landed an hour earlier and that he was unable to be reached on his cell phone, which prompted a massive search by local officials, according to TMZ.

After using GPS data to determine Thompson’s approximate location, a helicopter reportedly located his body later that evening, along with his paragliding equipment and a video recording device.

Authorities are now reviewing footage from the device and investigating the incident to determine what caused the tragedy.

Thompson’s brother Mark also confirmed the incident to TMZ, noting that the YouTube star recently picked up interest in paragliding and other airborne activities, but said that the family was still learning what happened from investigators.

Officials with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

grant thompson
Grant Thompson. Grant Thompson/Instagram

Thompson first joined the YouTube community in January 2010 as “The King of Random” and quickly accumulated subscribers with original videos about “life hacks, experiments and random weekend projects.”

His content, which came out almost every day and covered everything from DIY projects to action-filled myth-busters, helped him become one of the most-watched stars on the social platform with over 11 million subscribers and over 2.4 billion views.

Though he was featured in almost every video since beginning his channel, Thompson recently appeared to put his focus elsewhere as two new hosts, Calli and Nate, have taken over starring in the 10 to 15 minute clips for the past several months.

grant thompson
Grant Thompson. Grant Thompson/Instagram
grant thompson
Grant Thompson. Grant Thompson/Instagram

In the wake of the devastating news, YouTube issued a statement about the loss of their former user and expressed their condolences to Thompson’s family, content 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,” they tweeted alongside the tribute video.

Many of Thompson’s followers also shared their sadness over the tragedy and remembered the star for the impact he left on the lives of millions.

“He will always be one of my favorite og YouTubers that I first watched, you will be missed 🤧😭,” wrote one fan.

“This man got me through some many nights of not being able to sleep or just be able to do anything,” added someone else. “Thanks for giving me so many memories to live by. Hope you’re in a better place.”

Another added, “Absolutely heartbreaking man. I’ve enjoyed Grant’s content since I was a kid. Rest In Peace.”

“He made me laugh so so much. I love and appreciate him and his work and his legacy will go on forever,” wrote someone else.

“My condolences to his family. He will be missed. I loved Grant’s videos,” commented another user. “His passion and creativity were amazing and inspiring.”

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“This man was like a superhero to me… he could do everything, build everything and he taught me so many things in so many different ways,” recalled one person. “Rest in peace”

“Sending all my love to his friends, family, and community. What a joy he brought to so many,” added someone else.

“He’s been such an inspiration in my life and it’s hard to believe he’s actually gone,” wrote another. “RIP my friend, you meant so much to us all 😥.”

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