Race car driver, entrepreneur, and ‘Gymkhana’ star Ken Block dies at 55

By 01/03/2023
Race car driver, entrepreneur, and ‘Gymkhana’ star Ken Block dies at 55
Photo credit: Jaanus Ree

Ken Block, who turned his action sports brand into a YouTube success story, has died. The DC Shoes founder was 55 years old.

According to Block’s rally car team, Hoonigan Racing, the cause of death was a snowmobile accident. Block had been riding with a group in Wasatch County, Utah but was alone at the time of the crash. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Block is survived by his wife Lucy and their three children. “Ken was a visionary, a pioneer, and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband,” reads a statement from Hoonigan. “He will be incredibly missed. Please respect the family’s privacy at this time while they grieve.”


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DC Shoes, which Block co-founded in 1994, is a well-known producer of skateboarding apparel. Block eventually sold his ownership stake in DC to found Hoonigan, a lifestyle brand that targets auto enthusiasts. Block competed in more than 100 races across various rally car championships.

In the racing and online video communities, Block was well-known as the creator and star of Gymkhana, a web series that mixed stunt driving with spectacular cinematography. The first Gymkhana video, which came out in 2008, was followed by numerous star-studded sequels. The most recent installment of the series, featuring motorsports athlete Travis Pastrana, hit YouTube less than a month before Block’s death.

Gymkhana has helped Hoonigan’s YouTube channel bring in more than one billion lifetime views. In the series’ most-watched episode, Block drifted through the streets of Los Angeles. That clip has brought in 57 million views to date.

Though eye-popping feats made Gymkhana famous, the series was also well-known in the marketing world. Years before the term “creator economy” came into common use, Block set the standard for branded videos by concocting and executing clever ideas on behalf of his sponsors. The sixth edition of Gymkhana, which supported the video game Need For Speed Rivals, won a Streamy Award in 2014 as the best brand campaign of the year.

Block will be remembered as a top-notch racer, a savvy entrepreneur, and an online video innovator. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues, as well as all the fans who gawked at the incredible stunts he was able to pull off.

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