The brave folks who appeared on History's reality series Ax Men regularly risked their lives for the sake of their jobs as loggers. Sadly, one of the most memorable stars of Ax Men has passed away, and it wasn't due to the job that he loved. Gabe Rygaard of Rygaard Logging died on Friday due to a traffic accident. He was 45 years old.
Gabe Rygaard was killed in a car wreck at 9:22 a.m. on Friday, September 16 in the Port Angeles area of Washington. Three vehicles were involved in the crash, and seven people in total were injured. Gabe Rygaard was the only individual to die due to the wreck. He was behind the wheel of the Ford Bronco that rear-ended another car and then sent his into the wrong lane of traffic to collide with a third vehicle. Unfortunately, the State Patrol responders who arrived on the scene reported that Rygaard was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of collision.
The death was confirmed by Gabe Rygaard's father Craig, according to Peninsula Daily News. Rygaard is also survived by his wife, three children, mother, and brother. The family is native to Port Angeles, and their logging company has always been based out of the area. Craig worked with Gabe for many years as a father-son logging team.
Rygaard Logging Inc. was a big part of Ax Men starting in its second season, when the show expanded its roster to include more logging companies. The family was regularly featured all the way through to the ninth and final season. The Rygaards ran into trouble when Craig was injured on the job, and he retired by the end of Season 6. He passed the company on to his son Gabe, who ran the business through the end of the series and beyond.
Gabe Rygaard is the second History reality veteran in pass away in the past few weeks. Ice Road Truckers driver Darrell Ward died in a plane crash in the end of August. Tragedy struck History twice in far too short a time. Take a look at one of Rygaard's most fun moments of Ax Men for a reminder of what he brought to fans of the show on a regular basis:
Ax Men came to an end after the conclusion of Season 9 in early 2016, so we won't get to see how Rygaard Logging works without Gabe Rygaard in charge. He'll surely be missed by family and friends alike. At least we can remember him at his best thanks to his eight seasons as a reality star on Ax Men.