Ken Block, the rally driver and YouTuber also known for his appearances in Need for Speed, the Codemasters Dirt series, and Microsoft’s Forza Horizon, has died at age 55 following a snowmobiling accident in Wasatch County, Utah.
Featuring as a driver in Dirt 2 and Dirt 3, alongside his rally career, Block became famous on YouTube for videos covering gymkhana, a motorsport whereby competitors use advanced driving techniques to achieve the fastest times on challenging courses. In Dirt 3, Block serves as the player’s gymkhana teacher, with his signature Ford Fiesta rally car also featuring in Dirt Showdown.
Block’s trademark vehicles also appear across the Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsports series, and he is featured as a ‘style icon’ in the 2015 iteration of Need for Speed. Block participated in the Global Rallycross and Rally America competitions, earning a multitude of victories and podium finishes. His YouTube channel, demonstrating gymkhana driving practices, has over two million subscribers. Block also competed in a variety of other sports including snowboarding and skateboarding, and was the co-founder of shoe brand DC Shoes.
Block passed away on January 2 when a snowmobile he was riding on a steep slope in Utah upended and landed on top of him. The county sheriff’s office responded to an emergency call, but says that Block was pronounced deceased on the scene. “We are saddened to hear of the loss of Kenneth and our hearts are with his family and friends so deeply affected,” Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office says in a statement.
“Ken was a visionary, a pioneer, and an icon. And most importantly a father and husband,” says Block’s racing team, The Hoonigans. “He will be incredibly missed.” EA Sports Rally, which oversees the Dirt series, also shares a tribute, simply stating “Rest in peace, Ken.”
“Devastating news about the loss of Ken Block,” reads a post on the official Twitter channel for Forza Horizon. “He was a legend in Motorsports and will be dearly missed. Our deepest condolences to his family and the team at The Hoonigans.” Block is survived by his wife and three children.