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Grant Thompson (1980–2019), YouTube star known as “The King of Random”

Facebook / The King of Random

His science experiments and how-to videos went viral and gained millions of viewers

Grant Thompson was a YouTube star known as the King of Random, whose science experiment videos attracted millions of viewers. Thompson’s YouTube channel also featured life hacks, how-to tips, and survival techniques. The YouTuber had a fondness for creating explosions on film, which led to an arrest in 2018 as neighbors reported him for blowing things up in his back yard. Thompson struck a deal with prosecutors, who cleared him of all charges after he agreed to create videos with information on safety for science projects like his explosions. Before his YouTube success, Thompson had been an airline pilot who retired young after successfully investing in real estate.

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Died: July 29, 2019 (Who else died on July 29?)

Details of death: Died near Hurricane, Utah in a paragliding accident at the age of 39.


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A viral hit: Thompson’s most popular video was his tutorial on making Lego gummy candies. Offering a variety of tips for making the perfect gelatin mixture and creating stackable blocks, the video went viral and has received more than 34 million views to date. Other popular videos on the King of Random channel included “Self Freezing Coca Cola,” “Turning Coal into Diamonds, Using Peanut Butter,” and “How to Open Coconuts Without Any Tools.”

Thompson talks about his inspiration: “There was a lot of real estate foreclosures and talks of depression, and I wanted to be the guy who was prepared for any emergencies. So I was taking apart microwaves and playing with electronics and just trying to figure out how society worked and how to reverse engineer that at home.” —from a 2018 King of Random video

What people said about him: “Grant had great love and appreciation for his fans. Please do a random act of love or kindness today in honor of The King of Random. Grant’s legacy will live on in the channel and the global community he created.” —statement on The King of Random channel

“We’re deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Grant Thompson, a gifted, passionate and endlessly curious creator. We send our deepest condolences to his loving family. The King of Random team and fans.” —YouTube

“Every time I saw Grant Thompson his passion, enthusiasm and kindness was palpable when we would chat. You might be gone but we can still visit your old videos and spend time together. Rest in peace, Grant.” —YouTuber Jake Roper of Vsauce3

“RIP to the legend Grant Thompson. Thank you for inspiring and touching so many of us with your curiosity. You will be forever missed. Our sincerest condolences are with his family.” —VidCon

Full obituary: Salt Lake Tribune

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