Brian Barczyk, a reptile and amphibian expert whose educational videos have earned him 5.28 million subscribers, died on Jan. 14 from stage 4 inoperable pancreatic cancer, his team shared on social media. He was 54.
“On behalf of the Barczyk family and our entire team at The Reptarium, it is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved Brian Barczyk,” read a statement posted to his Instagram on Jan. 15. “More than the guiding light of our organization, Brian’s fervent passion for reptiles and wildlife, along with his steadfast dedication to education, has touched innumerable hearts and minds globally.”
Praising the YouTuber as a “visionary, mentor, and friend,” the statement continued, “For those of us who had the privilege of working alongside him, Brian’s absence leaves an immeasurable void. As we navigate this difficult time, we find comfort in the memories and the lasting light of Brian’s work. He will be deeply missed but indeed, never forgotten.”
Barczyk made many contributions to the animal world. Along with making popular YouTube videos about reptile species, he also founded The Reptarium, a reptile zoo in Michigan, as well as LegaSea, which is currently in the process of being built. In addition, the animal enthusiast owned the world’s third-largest collection of snakes, with over 30,000 in his possession, according to People.
First announcing his diagnosis in a March 2023 YouTube video, Barcyzk documented his cancer journey on the channel until Jan. 5, when he shared that he would be entering hospice care.
“I pray that you guys will continue to watch the vlog, continue to follow along, because nothing is going to change,” Barczyk said in the 16-minute clip. “Our message is the same. The only difference is that you’re not going to see me. But trust me, I’m ready, guys. It was a tough year. It was so painful.”
He added, “You know the only way I was probably going to beat this cancer was this way. It wasn’t because I gave up. I didn’t give up. I was ready. It was such a battle… I’m telling you, I’m a tough person, and I don’t know how people do it. It’s so hard.”
Barcyzk concluded the video with a hopeful message, saying, “I’m going to be able to look down on the LegaSea, I’m going to be able to look down on my family and everyone who I love. I love you guys. You guys be good, inspire people.”
Barcyzk is survived by his wife of 35 years, Lori, and his children, Noah and Jade.
In other news – Josh Duhamel and wife Audra Mari welcome their first baby together
The Transformers actor welcomed his first child with wife Audra Mari on Jan. 11, the couple announced on Instagram. Alongside a black-and-white photo of their baby’s feet, Josh and the former Miss World America shared their child’s name and wrote in the caption of the Jan. 16 post, “Shepherd Lawrence Duhamel.”
The little one joins Josh’s 10-year-old son Axl, who he shares with ex-wife Fergie. In fact, Josh said the newly-minted older brother had the best reaction when he found out that Audra was expecting. Read More