'Storm Chasers' Joel Taylor Dead of Possible Drug Overdose

By Keri Blakinger 01/26/18

Fans and fellow storm chasers took to social media to honor the late reality TV star.

Joel Taylor
Photo via YouTube

Storm Chasers star Joel Taylor reportedly died of a possible drug overdose aboard a cruise ship, according to TMZ. He was 38. 

The weather-loving Discovery Channel personality was found unresponsive in his cabin Tuesday on a Royal Caribbean cruise, after he was allegedly spotted high on drugs on the dance floor.

"It appears the death could be an overdose and Joel Taylor was consuming controlled substances,” a law enforcement source told the gossip site.

“We extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the 38-year-old male guest from the United States who died while onboard Harmony of the Seas. A member of our Care Team is providing support and assistance to his family,” cruise line spokesman Owen Torres said in a statement. “As is our standard procedure, law enforcement was notified and responded to the ship when it arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, January 23.”

Other passengers reported plenty of drugs aboard the boat, and one allegedly caught sight of Taylor on so much GHB he fell unconscious and needed help getting back to his room. 

Initially the FBI was probing the case, but once it was determined the death was not the result of a violent crime, it reverted back to local police, TMZ reported.

Taylor was raised in Oklahoma, and studied meteorology at the University of Oklahoma before going on to join the cast of Storm Chasers in 2008. The program was canceled in 2012. 

As news of his death emerged, fellow storm chasers took to social media to mourn him. 

“I am shocked and absolutely devastated by the loss of my incredible, caring friend. We chased so many intense storms, and I wish we could have just one more storm chase,” Reed Timmer wrote on Twitter. "I'll miss you forever, Joel. We lost a legend."

The Team Western OK Chaser Facebook page honored him with a post. 

"Our community of Elk City and the Storm Chasing community lost a great guy this week," the post said. "He was one of the most level headed chasers on the roads and truly a classy guy outside of chasing... He didn’t chase for the glory he chased because he had a true passion for storms."

The post went on to dub Taylor’s death a mystery, saying it could be “quite a while” because medical professionals figure out a cause. 

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.