Ken Block, a 55-year-old YouTube sensation and American motorsport hero, died in a Utah snowmobile accident.
He was a successful rally driver who competed in series like Rally America and Global Rallycross. Later, he gained widespread recognition for his “Gymkhana” YouTube video series.
He received over two million subscribers for the 10-part series in which he displayed dangerous racing feats. Block was a founding partner of the skateboarding apparel company DC Shoes.
Another apparel business he owned, Hoonigan Industries, posted a message on Instagram on Monday to reveal the death of its founder.
FIA remembers ‘inspirational’ Ken Blockhttps://t.co/exltlUf05G pic.twitter.com/LN6ti0ZFJV
— FIA (@fia) January 3, 2023
“Ken was a trailblazer, an icon, and a visionary. And last but not least, a husband and father. He is going to be sorely missed.”
According to the local sheriff’s office, Block was riding a snowmobile up a steep slope in Wasatch County, Utah, when the vehicle overturned and fell on top of him.
Due to his injuries, he was declared dead at the site.
A day after US actor Jeremy Renner suffered critical wounds while driving a snow plough to clear snow from outside his Nevada home, the actor’s passing was announced. According to the sheriff’s office in Utah, Block had been riding with a group but was on his own when the accident happened.
The 4th and final episode of my 16-year-old daughter Lia buying, tearing down, rebuilding and now driving her ‘85 Audi Ur Quattro will be live at 8am PST tomorrow on my YouTube channel. Will her Audi finally do a donut?? Or will itbreak in the attempt? Tune in to find out! pic.twitter.com/p5SLV0vPUE
— Ken Block (@kblock43) January 2, 2023
Since 2005, Block has been a professional rally driver and won Rally America’s Rookie of the Year award. He then won rallycross medals at the X Games and finished on the podium in the World Rallycross Championship.
He also participated in motocross, skateboarding, and snowboarding competitions.
However, Block regained his momentum on YouTube, where many viewers watched him drive various cars around perilous tracks and obstacle courses.
As well as appearing in four EA Sports racing video games, he was twice featured on the BBC’s Top Gear program.
After Block and Top Gear host Matt LeBlanc executed doughnuts that left black tyre marks close to the Cenotaph during a 2016 episode, the BBC issued an apology. The video was never broadcast.
The news of Block’s passing was met with “gut-wrenching” reactions from the American Rally Association.
According to a statement on Facebook, “He was a major influence on everything he touched, especially the global world of rallying.”
Block received praise from his fellow competitors as well. Former British Formula One world champion Jenson Button spoke to Block as “a talent that contributed so much to our sport.”
Malcolm Wilson, a former rally racer from the United Kingdom, claimed on BBC Radio 5 that Block was an “infectious character” who contributed to the globalization of rally racing, mainly through his social media videos.
Wilson remarked, “What he accomplished with vehicles, the stunts he pulled were astounding.”
Ryan Vargas, a driver in the Nascar Xfinity Series, claimed that watching Block’s movies “formed my personality and interest in automobiles.”
Block leaves behind his wife, Lucy, and three kids.