MISSOULA, Mont. — Family, friends and fans are mourning the loss of reality TV star Darrell Ward after the “Ice Road Trucker” was killed in a plane crash.
The Deer Lodge trucker was returning to western Montana after a weekend promotional appearance at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas when the small plane he was flying in crashed, taking his life and also killing his co-pilot.
The 52-year old’s death was confirmed in a statement posted on his Facebook page late Sunday evening.
Ward had risen to stardom over the past several seasons of the History Channel reality show, becoming a fan favorite for his direct, and often confrontational style. Tagged as “The Montana Legend” on the show, Ward’s personal slogan was “any road, any load!” Ward appeared in the tenth season of the show this summer and had just learned he was being invited back for next season a few days ago.
In a sad twist of irony, Ward had been planning to film a pilot for a new show about the effort of recovering backcountry plane crashes after returning to Montana.
Ward was not only well known in the trucking industry, but here in Western Montana. He frequently took jobs hauling heavy equipment to help wildland firefighters. Ward had just been helping with equipment at the Copper King Fire near Thompson Falls earlier this month.
Ward was also known for giving back to the community, most recently organizing a food drive for flood victims in Louisiana, and planning an appearance as Grand Marshal at a parade in Nova Scotia for Special Olympics.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.