(Bloomberg) -- Ken Block, a co-founder of DC Shoes who went on to become a stunt driver known for his YouTube videos under the Hoonigan brand he co-created, died in a snowmobile accident Jan. 2. He was 55. 

The Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office in Heber City, Utah, and Hoonigan confirmed the death. 

Block had been riding a snowmobile on a steep slope when the snowmobile upended, landing on top of him, according to a statement from the sheriff. He was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries sustained in the accident. In previous recent Instagram posts, Block had been riding the 2023 SkiDoo Summit X Turbo snowmobile made for deep snow; a spokesperson from Hoonigan did not respond to requests for confirmation that Block was riding the same sled when he died. 

“Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband,” said a statement from Hoonigan. 

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A post shared by Ken Block (@kblock43)

Block co-founded DC Shoes, a skate and snowboard accessories company, with Damon Way in 1994—but sold it in 2004. After successes driving in the X Games and World Rally Championships, he founded Hoonigan’s racing division in 2010 and Hoonigan Industries, a lifestyle brand centered around driving, in 2013. Through Hoonigan, he became famous for shooting dangerous and thrilling YouTube stunt videos, which he called Gymkhanas, in cities like Los Angeles and Dubai, up a mountain in China, and at an autodrome just outside Paris. Traditionally, gymkhanas are equestrian events meant to show the skill of rider and horse over a certain obstacle course; in modern times they have been adapted as motorsports events designed to test a driver’s ability and speed.

Featuring heavily modified cars first from Subaru and later primarily from Ford, Block’s Gymkhana videos went viral, amassing more than 500 million views by people obsessed with Block’s daring drifts—like on the extreme edge of the deadly Pike’s Peak road in Colorado—and jumps, such as when he recreated the famous jump in the movie Bullitt down the streets of San Francisco. His most famous obstacles included semitrucks, Sasquatches, motorcycle riders, and a guy on a Segway. 

“He was a true visionary with his own unique style and infectious smile,” Jenson Button, the British race car driver and F1 champion, wrote in a tribute on Twitter. “Our sport lost one of the best today but more importantly a great man.”  

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A post shared by Ken Block (@kblock43)

In 2021, after ending an exclusive 11-year partnership with Ford, Block entered a new deal with Audi, working to develop the electric Audi S1 Hoonitron and make an “Electrikhana” video in Las Vegas. 

“We are saddened by this news and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development at Audi AG, in an email. “Ken was a pioneer and in recent years also a member of the Audi family. He was valued and warmly welcomed by all. We have lost a great person and respected sportsman, who will always have his place in the history of Audi Sport.” 

In a 2021 interview with Bloomberg, Block described the decision to leave Ford and focus more on family as a “new chapter” in his life. “I have obviously been doing all this for a long time now and am starting to slow down a bit,” he said. 

Block is survived by his wife, the decorated rally driver Lucy, and three children including 16-year-old Lia Block, who started her own driving series with her dad’s help in 2021. Block’s last Instagram post was about her rebuild of a 1985 Audi Ur Quattro.  

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