A skater-shoe entrepreneur who turned his need for speed into a car-crazy video empire under the Hoonigan name, Ken Block, has died in a snowmobile accident in the US.
Ken Block, a hero to a generation of 21st century car enthusiasts, has died after a snowmobile crash in Utah in the US.
Block, 55, was known for his wild stunts in cars and starred in a series of ‘Gymkhana‘ videos that scored millions of YouTube views and turned his Hoonigan brand into a worldwide phenomenon.
He was a millionaire skateboard-shoe entrepreneur and the success of his company, DC Shoes, allowed him to chase a passion for cars and driving that eventually saw him representing Subaru, Ford and then Audi around the world.
His passion for action sports took him into skateboarding, snowboarding and motocross before he moved into rallying – including competing briefly in the World Rally Championship.
The cause of his death, announced by Hoonigan through social media, has not been made public.
“Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband. He will be incredibly missed,” the Hoonigan statement said.
Block lived in Park City in Utah and had a wife, Lucy, and a 16-year-old daughter, Lia, who had followed her father into stunt driving and motorsport.
Park City was also the home to Block’s race shop and the headquarters of the Hoonigan empire, including a run of outrageous and highly-modified cars – from the Subaru WRX through a string of Ford’s Focus and Fiesta hatchbacks – to a new electric Audi created for use in the ‘Electrikhana‘ video he filmed last year on the streets of Las Vegas.
Block made two visits to Australia, in 2011 where he performed a series of his signature stunts at Calder Park Raceway in Melbourne, then again in 2013 when he did a cameo with his Ford Fiesta at the Adelaide 500 race for V8 Supercars.
It was Block’s first ‘Gymkhana’ video, in 2011, that turned him into an internet sensation.
His wild driving style, including tyre burning sideways antics and giant jumps, made spectacular vision but his videos were always filmed on closed roads with plenty of safety precautions.
Block’s death is a reminder of the near-fatal skiing accident suffered by seven-time world Formula One driving champion, Michael Schumacher, in the French alps in 2013.
Schumacher has not been seen in public since the crash and his intensely-private family has never revealed any details of his health.