Fans of the Discovery reality series Moonshiners are in shock, as news that Lance Waldroup, 30, one of the show’s beloved bootleggers, died unexpectedly in his home state of North Carolina on Feb. 25, as TMZ reported.
According to law enforcement sources, Lance’s mother dialed 911 to report that she had discovered her son unresponsive and not breathing in his bed, at which point Graham County Sheriff’s personnel responded and, sadly, declared him deceased.
Waldroup had reported spoken to his mother several hours earlier, before retiring to his bedroom, never to emerge. Authorities found no evidence of foul play, and a medical examination of his cause of death continues.
The young distiller appeared on a number of the series’ earlier seasons, working in tandem with his father, Jeff, as Today noted. Together, the pair made moonshine, absinthe, as well as scotch.
TMZ further reported that Waldroup’s loved ones established a GoFundMe page to secure memorial funds, and which described Lance as a recovering drug addict who had succeeded in changing the course of his life after having completed a rehabilitation program.
Waldroup’s life was marked by significant tragedies, losing a sister to cystic fibrosis when she was just 11 and a brother to the same illness at just 20. According to his memorial fundraising page, those events left him with a profound sense of survivor’s guilt and contributed to his subsequent struggle with addiction.
The popular bootlegger reportedly left the television series in order to care for his mother after she received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, with the GoFundMe page explaining that “he did not want to leave her side and waited on her hand and foot.”
Executives at Discovery publicly expressed their sadness at the loss of Waldroup on Facebook, describing him as “an adventurous distiller…who was always looking to take his flavorful recipes of ‘shine to new heights.”
Echoing what are certainly the sentiments of Waldroup’s many fans, the post concluded, “He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”