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TV Star Joel Taylor of ‘Storm Chasers’ Found Dead on Gay Cruise … Illegal Drugs On Board

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SAN JUAN — One of the stars of American reality TV series Storm Chasers has been found dead on a cruise ship in Puerto Rico.

Joel Taylor an Oklahoma native who appeared on the Discovery Channel series, died at the age of 38 on Tuesday but the circumstances of his death initially remained unclear.

Local police told NBC News Taylor was found dead on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

“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,” Owen Torres, manager of global corporate communications for Royal Caribbean Cruises, told the news outlet.

“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,” Torres said.

The cause of Taylor’s remains unknown and an autopsy has yet to be carried out.

At the time of Taylor’s death, the cruise liner was hosting Atlantis Events’ all-gay Caribbean Cruise which left Fort Lauderdale in Florida on 20 January.

Olivia Newton-John, who played the lead role of Sandy in cult 1978 film Grease, headlined a concert on the cruise alongside Swedish electronic dance music duo Galantis.

Taylor’s best friend and former co-star Reed Timmer penned a touching message to his “storm chasing partner” on Twitter.

Timmer, who attended the University of Oklahoma with Taylor, said: “RIP my best friend and storm chasing partner, Joel Taylor. I am shocked and absolutely devastated by the loss of my incredible, caring friend”.

The programme Storm Chasers follows a number of teams of storm chasers as they try to intercept tornadoes in places in the US where tornadoes are most frequent. The series was cancelled by Discovery in 2012 after five seasons.

Team Western OK Chaser, a storm chasing community in Oklahoma, paid tribute to Taylor.

“Our community of Elk City and the Storm Chasing community lost a great guy today,” the group said on their Facebook page. “Joel Taylor was truly an inspiration to myself and many who knew him. 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. In the last few years he would load up with his dad and go chase and not even take a camera. Our hearts are hurting for his mom Tracy and dad Jimmy along with his brother and sister and their children. Please know you are in our prayers. RIP Joel.”

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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