“Gold Rush” fans and friends troop to social media to extend their condolences for the passing of Alaska’s legendary miner and TV personality John Schnabel, who died in his sleep at the age of 96.
TMZ reported that the news was announced by Schnabel’s family, who popularly calls the famous miner “Grandpa” in Discovery’s reality show. In the show, he is always being shown together with his grandson Parker, who took over the mining chores.
Parker in his social media account thank everyone for their kind words and for consoling their family with the loss of a great man.
John Schnabel, who was a former mayor of Haines and a shareholder of the Big Nugget Mine, suffered a heart attack towards the end of the TV show’s second season and survived. He then was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 to which he handed over the operations of the mine to Parker.
Thank you all for the kind words. Grandpa John lived a great life and was one of a kind. I am glad the world got to see an amazing man.
— Parker Schnabel (@goldrush_parker) March 19, 2016
In the show, John Schnabel would always state that he always dreamed of mining at Smith Creek Hill and his grandson, Parker, would make that dream come true in the show’s episode entitled “Granpa’s Last Wish.” The episode was documented and it showed Parker together with his brother Pyson making that wish come true.
Despite his health issues, John Schnabel was still active as a miner as depicted in the show’s season four as he would always advise Parker, but as soon as Parker left Porcupine Creek, which is also known as Big Nugget Mine, John would resume handling the operations once again.
John Schnabel was born in Kansas in 1920 and due to the Great Depression his family moved to Haines, Alaska. At age 12, he would get his first job as a paper boy. It was also mentioned in the show that when John set foot in Alaska, he knew that it was the place where he would be successful.