The Brown family patriarch died Sunday after suffering a seizure

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Billy Brown, Alaskan Bush People
Credit: Discovery

Alaskan Bush People star Billy Brown died Sunday at the age of 68, leaving behind a storied legacy after 12 seasons and nearly seven years on the Discovery reality series. 

Bear Brown, one of Billy's sons, announced the tragic news in an Instagram post.

"We are heartbroken to announce that our beloved patriarch Billy Brown passed away last night after suffering from a seizure," Bear, 33, wrote on his private Instagram account alongside a photo of his parents, Billy and Ami Brown. "He was our best friend — a wonderful and loving dad, granddad and husband and he will be dearly missed."

"I lost a true friend," daughter Rain Brown, 18, added in her own post. "Not forever, but only in this world. Please hold my family in your thoughts and prayers, especially my mother. Please hold your family tight for me. Words cannot express how wonderful he was and is. But I will say, the closest thing to an angel I've ever known. God bless you da [sic] I love and miss you dearly. You will always be my hero."

Alaskan Bush People
Credit: Discovery
Alaskan Bush People
Credit: Discovery

Billy, also father daughter Snowbird and sons Matt, Bam Bam, Gabe and Noah, had starred in Alaskan Bush People alongside his family since 2014. Below are some of his best moments on the show, from giving fatherly advice to surprising his family with a sweet new pet.

Gabe's First Driving Lesson

Though most families can't relate to much of what goes on in the Alaskan bush, this moment will be familiar. "Getting in the car with Gabe is kind of a life-threatening situation," Billy joked to the cameras while teaching his son how to drive.

Billy's Family History

When Billy's friends from Texas paid the Browns a visit, the family patriarch was reminded of his late parents and sister as he shuffled through old photos. During what he called a "highly emotional" moment, Billy recalled his mom and dad as being his "very great friends." 

"The only best friend I had over them was my sister," he said. 

A Valuable Piece of Advice

In one scene from 2017, Noah informed his family that he was contemplating leaving the bush — but he was nervous they'd think he was abandoning them. Billy launched into a heartwarming speech, urging his son to follow his own path.

"What have we taught you your whole life? Each person has got to follow their own road — that's what life is about. That's what family's about, what you have here with us is here," he said, pointing to his heart. "You can't take that away, it'll always be here. And you shouldn't feel about it, man! You can't feel bad about following your own path in life."

A Fluffy Family Addition

Billy became a "hero" when he decided to bring home a new dog for his youngest daughter, Rain. And when the puppy was placed into his own arms, it became clear that Billy's heart instantly melted, too.

"I almost fell over, I admit it — he is as cute as they come," he said. 

Delivering Tough News 

Billy's children always came first. In this clip from 2016, the family man did what he could to "soften" some bad news from his doctor, deciding to wait to tell the kids until they were able to gather together as a family over a meal.

Billy's Boating Passion

In this clip, Billy and his sons checked out a boat for sale and contemplated buying it. While son Bam Bam tried to find flaws and point out potential risks, Billy couldn't contain his excitement at the prospect of a new vessel.

"When it comes to boats, the kid in me takes over," he admitted.

A Difficult Decision

In 2017, Billy's wife Ami was diagnosed with cancer and the pair had to make the difficult decision to permanently relocate from their homestead in rural Alaska to Washington, buying a 435-acre property in the North Cascade Mountains, so that Ami could continue to receive treatment. On the show, Billy described the prospect of moving as "earth-shattering," but knew the family had to stick together.

"The one thing we've always been left with is each other, and as long as we've got each other we can deal with it," he said.