Ken Block, the pro rally racer who co-founded Hoonigan Industries, DC Shoes, and revolutionized the world of action sports and motorsports marketing, was killed in a snowmobile crash in Utah on Monday (Jan. 2). He was only 55 years old.
Hoonigan Industries confirmed Block’s death in a statement posted to its social media accounts.
“It’s with deepest regrets that we can confirm that Ken Block passed away in a snowmobile accident today,” the statement read. “Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband. He will be incredibly missed.”
According to a statement from the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office, emergency responders were called at 2 PM local time to the scene of a snowmobile crash in Mill Hollow, Utah, in the Uinta National Forest. The office states that Block was riding his snowmobile with a group, but was alone when his machine flipped over and crushed him while navigating a steep hill. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, but an official cause of death has yet to be released to the public.
Though car enthusiasts best know Block as the legendary rally racer who founded Hoonigan Industries, an automotive media and apparel company based in California, Block’s illustrious career spanned more than 30 years. He made his name as a competitive skateboarder, motocrosser, and snowboarder, and in 1994 co-founded DC Shoes with American designer Damon Way.
Block began his rallying career in 2005 with the Vermont SportsCar team. In his first season, he ended up with five top five finishes and placed third overall in the Group N class, and fourth overall in the Rally America National Championship. At the end of 2005, Block had nabbed the Rally America Rookie of the Year award.
The following year, Block entered the first X Games rally driving event, and in 2007 he began competing in the World Rally Championship. In 2010, Block founded the Monster World Rally Team, becoming the first American driver to ever compete in WRC rally racing. He would change the name of the team to Hoonigan Racing Division in 2012, and competed in the FIA World Rallycross.
Aside from his fame as a rally racer, Block was active with Hoonigan Industries, which is geared primarily toward younger car enthusiasts. Hoonigan became famous through Block’s Gymkhana video series, which showcased increasingly extreme videos of Block (and later, an entire team of stunt drivers) drifting, jumping, and sliding around in various rallycross and custom vehicles. Through the Gymkhana series, Hoonigan and Block fostered a passionate young fanbase of “gearheads”–motor and technology enthusiasts–and created the most popular Youtube motorsports channel in history.
Block is survived by his wife, Lucy, and three children, two of whom have competed alongside Block in the American Rally Association championship.