Hurt’s passing was confirmed by his family on his official Facebook page, revealing he died from brain cancer on Tuesday, July 11, a day after his 80th birthday.
“‘Dakota’ Fred Hurt passed away this morning surrounded by family. He fought courageously in his battle against cancer. Fred touched many lives and was loved and supported by many,” the post read.
Beginning his career as a gold prospector in North Dakota, Hurt became known to the public after appearing in the reality show Gold Rush in 2010, where he and his son Dustin competed with other miners to find gold in Alaska and the Klondike region of Canada.
Hurt starred in the first four seasons of the Discovery reality series, becoming a fan-favorite, with viewers and fellow stars affectionately referring to the father and son as “the Dakota boys.”
Due to their popularity, Hurt and Dustin were given their own spinoff series, Gold Rush: White Water, which premiered in 2018 and ran through this year. The show followed the father and son through the wilderness of Haines Borough, Alaska, seeking their fortune by suction dredge diving within its raging whitewater creeks.
Hurt also made appearances on Gold Rush: South America and Gold Rush: The Legend of Porcupine Creek.
In the Facebook post, Hurt’s family shared a link to the Mike Rowe Works Foundation, encouraging people to donate on the late reality star’s behalf.
“Having worked in skilled labor for the majority of his career, Fred was passionate about teaching others these valuable skills,” the post stated.
Many fans and friends shared their condolences on Facebook.
“Today is a sad day with the loose [sic] of Fred Hurt, not only a miner but a family man,” wrote one Facebook commenter. “You fought a great fight Fred, now rest easy old timer you did your bit while on earth and shared your knowledge with many many people who I’m sure they was, are and always will be great full for what you gave to them.”
“Sending all our love and best wishes to Fred and those that loved, admired, and worked with him,” added the official Gold Rush Facebook account.
“RIP Fred! You’re an incredible example! I’m Thankful to have gotten to know and respect you throughout the Gold Rush series. Many Fans, I’m one too,” wrote another fan.