(MISSOULA)- Family, friends and fans are mourning the loss of reality TV star Darrell Ward this morning, after the "Ice Road Trucker" was killed in a plane crash.
The Deer Lodge trucker was returning to Western Montana after a weekend promotional appearance at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas when the small plane he was flying in crashed, taking his life and also killing his co-pilot.
The 52-year old's death was confirmed in a statement posted on his Facebook page late Sunday evening.
Ward had risen to stardom over the past several seasons of the History Channel reality show, becoming a fan favorite for his direct, and often confrontational style. Tagged as "The Montana Legend" on the show, Ward's personal slogan was "any road, any load!" Ward appeared in the tenth season of the show this summer and had just learned he was being invited back for next season a few days ago.
During summers in Western Montana, Ward was well-known as a driver, whether it was hauling logs, or heavy equipment to help wildland firefighters.
In a sad twist of irony, Ward had been planning to film a pilot for a new show about the effort of recovering backcountry plane crashes after returning to Montana.