Grant Imahara, the popular host and the self-dubbed "human guinea pig" of the Discovery series "MythBusters," died Monday, THR reports. The cause was a brain aneurysm. He was 49.
In a statement, Discovery said of Imahara's sudden death, "We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Grant. He was an important part of our Discovery family and a really wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
"MythBusters" album Adam Savage tweeted, "I’m at a loss. No words. I’ve been part of two big families with Grant Imahara over the last 22 years. Grant was a truly brilliant engineer, artist and performer, but also just such a generous, easygoing, and gentle PERSON. Working with Grant was so much fun. I’ll miss my friend."
I’m at a loss. No words. I’ve been part of two big families with Grant Imahara over the last 22 years. Grant was a truly brilliant engineer, artist and performer, but also just such a generous, easygoing, and gentle PERSON. Working with Grant was so much fun. I’ll miss my friend.— Adam Savage (@donttrythis) July 14, 2020
Born October 23, 1970, in L.A., Imahara had aspirations of becoming a screenwriter, but was on the fast track in electrical engineering. He applied both skills to a job with Lucasfilm's THX and Industrial Light & Magic, becoming the labs' chief model maker.
Four years ago, he told Neil deGrasse Tyson, "I worked in the model shop, so it was miniatures of spaceships and cities, and my specialty being animatronics and electrical engineering meant that I would do lighting on these things... You had this beautiful model. It's like having a beautiful birthday cake, and the last thing is lighting the candles — which is what I did."
He worked on such films as "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997), "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace" (1999), "Galaxy Quest" (1999), "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" (2001), "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones" (2002), "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" (2003), "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003), "The Matrix Revolutions" (2003), "Van Helsing" (2004), "xXx: State of the Union" (2005), and "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" (2005).
As a premier roboticist and engineer, Imahara also famously created Deadblow, a combat robot that competed on "BattleBots" (1999), ultimately ranking second in its weight division. Imahara also acted, including in the much-loved, fan-generated "Star Trek Continues" (2013-2017) as Sulu.
Imahara first appeared on "MythBusters" in 2005, replacing Scottie Chapman as its host in Season 3. He logged more than 200 episodes, departing in 2014.
In 2016, he was joined by his former "MythBusters" castmates Tory Belleci and Kari Byron for a season of "The White Rabbit Project" on Netflix.
Byron and Belleci both tweeted their shock at Imahara's out-of-nowhere death. Belleci wrote, "I just cannot believe it. I don’t even know what to say. My heart is broken. Goodbye buddy @grantimahara." Byron tweeted, "Somedays I wish I had a time machine," along with posting a flashback photo of herself, Belleci and Imahara.
Byron went on to post personal photos from the set throughout the night and early morning, observing, "Heartbroken and in shock tonight. We were just talking on the phone. This isn’t real."