Jeff Rice


This is an unwanted dose of reality.

Two freelance producers associated with creating challenges for reality TV shows, including The Amazing Race, were reportedly believed to be poisoned in Uganda after dealing with "local thugs."

And one of the TV vets, Jeff Rice, is now dead.

Sources tell E! News that Rice was not currently a producer on The Amazing Race or an employee of CBS, but had worked on the current season of the show (which premiered Sunday and was shot in Africa several months ago) as a freelance facilitator.

"They were not attacked but [evidence] points towards being poisoned," said Sally Blackman, Rice's wife, in an interview with FoxNews. "[A]t this stage it is quite difficult to give you any firm reports as the incident is currently under investigation by the Uganda police."

Rice's production assistant, whose name has not been released, is reportedly in critical condition following the incident.

According to his company bio, Rice had also worked on Animal Planet's Whale Wars, the South African version of The Biggest Loser and co-owned SB Productions, based in Durban on the east coast of South Africa.

The production company's website refers to Rice an "ideas man" who has an "incredibly calm nature and a wicked sense of humor."

Friends who have worked closely with him tweeted their reactions to the shocking news.

"Floored by the loss of my dear friend & fellow adventurer, Jeff Rice. You were, quite simply, the real deal. I'll never forget you," Syfy's Josh Gates wrote, and also posted a picture of the two of them, saying, "A photo with Jeff Rice in Madagascar. I can't believe you're gone, buddy."

Destination Truth's Rex Williams tweeted, "Lost my great friend, Jeff Rice. I can't tell you how saddened we are. He was a true adventurer. Please keep his family in your prayers...Thank you for your kind words everyone. Such a tragic loss..."

Rice leaves behind wife Blackman and the couple's two young children, aged seven and two.

—Reporting by Claudia Cagan

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