Alaskan Bush People: The Truth About Billy Brown's Parents

Fans of Alaskan Bush People are mourning the death of patriarch Billy Brown, who died on Feb. 7, 2021, at age 68.

The father of seven had starred in the reality show on Discovery since 2014. His son Bear Brown announced on his Instagram that Billy had passed away after suffering from a seizure, People reports. Bear posted a photo of Billy with his wife Ami, where he also wrote, "he was our best friend — a wonderful and loving dad, granddad and husband and he will be dearly missed." He added, "he lived his life on his terms, off the grid and off the land and taught us to live like that as well."

While the news of Billy's death comes as a shock, many fans know that the stars of Alaskan Bush People had overcome their own fair share of tragedies. In 2017, the family had to move from their home in rural Alaska to Washington after mom Ami was diagnosed with an advanced stage lung cancer. She told People, "We were filming the show and at times it was all I could do to just stand there — I was in so much pain."

Fortunately, in 2018 Ami was declared cancer free after treatment. While Billy's family was able to recover that time, the reality star wasn't always so lucky. At only 16 years old, Billy had already lost his entire family in a tragic accident. 

Billy Brown's parents, whom he was very close with, died in a plane crash

The parents of the late Alaskan Bush People star Billy Brown tragically died in a plane crash when Billy was only 16 years old.

Some may be surprised to learn that Billy didn't always live in Alaska. He actually grew up in Texas, in what he described on an episode of the show as "an upper-middle class family." He continued, "We were close. We were a very tight family. My mom and dad were my very great friends. The only best friend I had over them was my sister."

That was until 1969, when his parents and his sister, his only sibling, died after the private plane they were in got caught in a thunderstorm.

In an episode, Billy can be seen looking at old photos from his childhood, before telling his family, "it all changed in one day." He continued in the interview, "I got a call from my grandparents point blank 'well your mom, dad, and sister died in a plane crash.'"

To make matters even worse, after the crash, the teen was reportedly tricked into signing documents for emancipation. This in turn resulted in the loss of the family's home and fortune, leaving a young Billy to wander the country with no money or home, according to Men's Journal.

Of course, Billy went on to have a big, beautiful family of his own, but it appears the pain of suddenly losing his parents never went away.