Published April 03, 2013
Shain Gandee was the breakout star during the first season of MTV's "Buckwild." So it is no surprise that the producers of the series have come forward to help pay for the reality star's funeral.
Friends told TMZ on Tuesday that Gandee's family was having a hard time coming up with money for a funeral, so they were staging a charity "mud run" -- an off-road competition -- to help raise funds.
But now the producers behind the series have decided to cover the cost of the funeral, TMZ reported.
Parallel Entertainment CEO J.P. Williams, who produces the show with Zoo Productions, told TMZ: "Shain was a great kid with a big heart who had endless love for his mom and dad. I am from West Virginia and this show reminded me of how I grew up."
Gandee was found dead on Monday, along with two other bodies, in a Ford Bronco at the end of a long dirt road in Sissonville, Ky.
The three men died of carbon monoxide poisoning, The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement sent to FOX 411.
"The manner of death is accidental and the cause was carbon monoxide poisoning for all three subjects," the statement read.
The victims' bodies have been released to funeral homes, and TMZ reported a public service for the "Buckwild" star will be held on Sunday.
Kanawha County Commission Cpl. B.D. Humphreys said the body of Shain's uncle, David Gandee, 48, was also in the vehicle.The MTV reality star and his uncle had been reported missing on Sunday.
The third body was identified late Monday as that of Donald Robert Myers, 27, another Sissonville area resident.
Humphreys said the red-and-white 1984 Ford Bronco's muffler was below the surface and that mud covered the passenger side.
In lieu of the incident, MTV told FOX411 that the filming of the show's second season, which began a week ago, has been suspended.
“We are shocked and saddened by the terrible news about Shain Gandee, and those involved in this tragic incident," MTV said in a statement to FOX411. "We are waiting for more information but at this time, our main concern is for the Gandee family and their friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Shain had a magnetic personality, with a passion for life that touched everyone he met and we will miss him dearly.”
"Buckwild" premiered on MTV in January and follows nine friends in Sissonville and Charleston, West Virginia. Shain was nicknamed "Gandee Candy" by fans of the show. Many of the series' rowdy exploits were his idea. In one episode, he turned a dump truck into a swimming pool.
Gandee was a true outdoorsman, shedding modern conveniences such as cell phones and computers for his proud redneck ways. He loved to hunt, ride all-terrain vehicles and go "mudding," or offroad driving. He went mudding in the show's first episode and ruined his pickup truck's motor.
"Shain always rides with these kids in four-wheelers and trucks," said a neighbor, Swanna Frampton, who had known him since he was a small child. "They were just out riding and having a good time."
Frampton said Gandee "loved to live and have fun. He was a great person. He did what (the show) wanted him to do, but he wasn't like that. He was a real person. If you needed help, if needed something, he would come help you no matter what."
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said the news of Gandee's death was devastating for the small community near Charleston.
"It's a very sad day for the Sissonville area and for these families," he said. "This is a small community, and most of us know directly members of these families. We're keeping them in our hearts and prayers."
The half-hour series, which took up the old "Jersey Shore" time slot on MTV, was pulling in an average of 3 million viewers per episode since its premiere and was the No. 1 original cable series on Thursday nights among 12- to 34-year-olds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.