He lived an extreme life. He died a shocking death.
Matt Hughes, one of the meteorologist stars of Discovery's Storm Chasers, passed away on May 26 in Wichita, Kans., "due to an injury unrelated to his chasing activities," the cable channel said in a statement today. He was 30.
Discovery made the surprise announcement of Hughes' death at the end of last night's episode, titled "Dedication," which featured Hughes' final chase and was dedicated to his memory.
"Everyone involved in Storm Chasers mourn[s] the loss of their friend and colleague," the network's statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Matt's family, and we ask fans to kindly respect their privacy."
According to local authorities, Hughes committed suicide months ago.
"The cause of death was hanging," Amanda Matthews, spokeswoman for Cedgwick County Forensic Science Center, confirmed to E! News today.
"[First Responders] did an external exam and the individual was resuscitated. I don't have info of length of stay in hospital but autopsy date was May 27."
Local police received a call about a suicide attempt at Hughes' residence and found him still alive and breathing. He was transported to a nearby hospital but died nearly two weeks later.
In a June 7 blog post on Wichita's KAKE-TV site, colleague and pal Aaron Blaser recounted what happened.
"I spent quite a bit of time bouncing from work to the hospital and back again...hoping for the best, comforting others, but several days later, after serious complications arose, I knew we were going to lose him," Blaser wrote. "What a lot of us didn't know was that he suffered from depression."
He added that a funeral had been held that was attended by 500 people.
During his final appearance on the show, Hughes took the reins on what would be his "best tornado intercept ever," said team leader Sean Casey.
Hughes is survived by his wife, Kendra, and two young sons, Hunter and Collin, and Discovery has set up a memorial fund to benefit the family.