‘Gold Rush’ Star John Schnabel Dead at 96
Sad news for fans of one of Discovery Channel’s top shows: Gold Rush star John Schnabel has died at age 96.
Schnabel was one of the true greats among Alaskan gold miners, and “a true legend” according to his family, who announced the news of his death in a press release. The reality star reportedly died peacefully in his sleep.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better father, grandfather and overall family man,” read the statement from the Schnabel family. “He was a true legend and we appreciate all of your love and support as we celebrate his wonderful life.”
Born in 1920, Schnabel grew up working in a sawmill before transitioning into active duty as part of the the Air Corps during World War II. He would go on to develop a passion for gold mining, purchasing the Gold Nugget Mine in Porcupine Creek, Alaska at age 68 following a triple bypass. Schnabel spent the rest of his life pursuing this passion, and passed down his knowledge to grandsons Payson and Parker, who took over daily operations of the mine at age 16. Schnabel lived a vivid life, from fleeing U.S. Marshals after brewing bootleg alcohol in his youth, to being elected mayor of his hometown of Haines, Alaska later in life. I had the privilege of interviewing him once, and what I discovered was a man of immense experience and wisdom. While he lived a full, vibrant life, his loss will still be very deeply felt, not just for his family and friends, but for his fans with whom he shared so much wisdom.
Our condolences go out to Mr. Schnabel’s family and friends during this trying time.
Rest in peace, Mr. Schnabel.