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'Storm Chasers' Star Committed Suicide

11/4/2010 2:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

"Storm Chasers" just revealed one of its stars, Matt Hughes, died earlier this year -- and TMZ has learned his death was a suicide -- the result of a hanging.

Matt Hughes Storm Chaser death
At the end of last night's episode of the Discovery reality show viewers were told Hughes died in May due to complications from a fatal injury at his home in Kansas.

TMZ confirmed with Valley Center PD ... on May 14 they responded to a suicide call at Hughes' home.  According to the police report, officers concluded Matt, who was still breathing, was drinking before the suicide attempt.

We're told Matt was taken to a local hospital -- but passed away 13 days later.  The Medical Examiner's report lists "Hanging" as the cause of death.

110510_storm_chasers_tmz_tv2Last night's episode was dedicated to Matt -- and we're told Discovery has set up a memorial fund for Matt's wife and two sons. 


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Honestly, I would expect nothing less from your media outlet. Matt was a highly respected individual in the storm chasing community, which I am proud to be part of. As a professional chaser I have yet to see a correlation between chasing and suicide, as one reader suggested.

This event is sad. It was sad watching his last moments on video. He was enjoying what he loved to do and what he was so passionate for.

TMZ, shame on you for violating the family's privacy. The deserve their right to privacy and not some sniveling news hound trying to dig up dirt.

No matter what instrument of death, I will still respect him and help his legacy live on. Living on in the hearts of professional and amateur storm chasers around the world.

1416 days ago


If you've never suffered from depression, you just can't understand why he did what he did. It's not about being selfish; depression is a serious illness and just never lets go. Meds and therapy help control it but the incredible loneliness, hopelessness, and sadness never goes away. It's a living hell and some (even with children and spouses) can't take it anymore. I "live" with depression every day and just hope I can keep finding reasons to stick out my hell.
My prayers go out to Matt and his family...

1416 days ago


Suicide happens for many reasons. Sometimes it is due to ongoing mental illness. Sometimes it is a permanent solution to a temporary matter. Sometimes the reason is never clear. Whatever the cause, there are always hurting people left afterwords. We pray for Matt's family and friends. We pray that God will comfort them, provide for them, and in time allow them to remember Matt's life and smile. As the shows this season showed, he wanted to help collect data to prevent further death & destruction from tornadoes. Those of us subject to deadly storms are thankful.

1416 days ago


all you idiots whining about how "depression is a disease...", and "you have no idea what state he was in...", GET OVER IT!! He WASTED HIS OWN LIFE. If his brain was so bad that he couldn't cope with himself, then the suicide was natures natural selection the fittest. Been going on for millions of years. We humans just think we are too smart for it. We are not, so just toughen up a bit.

Geeesh. Do I feel bad for he guy? Yep. Do I feel bad for his family, YEP, even more!! But his action was STUPID, and he should NOT be commended for it. Your an IDIOT if you kill yourself, PERIOD.

1416 days ago


This is how we would like Matt Hughes to be remembered. If his family wants him remembered any other way, let it be their choice!!!

1416 days ago


Reading through the comments, I am disgusted with the comments that FlamingoNut, tyler, DizzKid, Tom Jones, MIDNIGHT TOKER ,Dee Dee Russell, and Amber all left. And I totally agree with what Erik posted in comment #68. I too, am a storm spotter/chaser and never knew Matt personally but remember watching his videos. Sharing his passion and enthusiasm for weather. Matt was a very awesome guy. He was a friend to everyone and a family member to the ones he loved. For people to state that Matt was selfish is pure BS. Suicide is something that not a lot of people truly understand. Depression is often the same way. It is a shame that people are so quick to judge others. Even if they never knew the person.

It's a shame that while Matt's family wanted Matt's issues and their life private, TMZ is betraying them.

Matt Hughes was an awesome person and an awesome storm chaser. His knowledge in weather was so ahead of others. Matt will always be in the storm chasing community's heart and soul.

1416 days ago


My deepest condolences to the family at this sad time.

1416 days ago


How tragic!

1416 days ago


As a fellow storm chaser and a friend of the Hughes family, I am familiar with this “story” and although it had been leaked her or there all over the internet since May, it angers me that you’d post this article. Matt left behind a wife (Kendra) and two young sons. It was out of respect for his family that the show did not release his cause of death. They made the decision to remove Matt from life support, so this isn’t something that’s easy for them. It’s too bad you don’t hold the same respect for the family. Please remember even though he was part of a television star, Matt was not a “star” he was a man. A man with a family that loved him and didn’t want his name dragged into the media like this. You article is incorrect, he did not pass away 13 days following his attempted suicide, it was 12 days later. Matt suffered with depression a good part of his life, he was sick. He was struggling to make things work with his personal life, just like MANY of us do on a daily basis. This is NOT a news story. It’s real life for many of us. I won’t remember him as “the guy on storm chasers who killed himself”, I will remember Matt as a skilled meteorologist, a wonderful husband, an awesome dad, a long life friend, and an all around good guy. I will choose to remember that bright smile of his that could light up a room.

TMZ- I usually don’t have that many problems with your reports but you seriously need to show a little respect for Matt and his family and remove this article. Some things are meant to stay private!

1416 days ago


Notch up another death on Discovery's belt - How many of their "stars" are dead now? That's some pretty stiff "reality".

1416 days ago



1416 days ago

John C.    

This doesn't surprise me, another tabloid jumping on the hurt the family bandwagon. Why do you do publish this? What did this family ever do to you, have you ever thought that this family has rights to privacy and might just want to keep certain things private! It should be illegal for you to publish this kind of stuff without the written consent of the family! Just my 2 cents. Leave them be. TMZ... what a bunch of Jack Wagons! No, I do not want your newsletter!

1416 days ago


Lisa - that goes for every story you read on here about everyone else. Just because you knew him doesn't make it any more apalling. It's all fun and games until someone you know is a headline, right?

1416 days ago


It's a sad day to see so many un-educated people speak out about the broad spectrum effects suicide has. Specifically for "Tyler" who asks how a man with two kids can commit suicide? Mental depression is a chronic disease. This is a disease you can't always control by a "magic pill". This poor man was obviously tormented mentally. Do you honestly think he would voluntarily take his life and leave his precious family behind...I think NOT! Mental disease is a life long battle. There are times you look in the mirror, and don't recognize the person looking back. There are times you despise being in the "shell" you call your body. However, with mental illness you can't always control it. This is a devastating disease that when you feel no other way out, you are considered a "coward" for doing the only thing you see as your last option; rather at that specific time in life, appears to be the only way to silence the demons tormenting your soul, and the souls of the ones you love. Please, rather than make derogatory comments about this man, try doing some research on how you can prevent this from happening to someone you know, or love. May God grant peace to Matt's family. I pray that Matt has finally found peace himself.

1416 days ago


As a personal friend of Matt's, I can tell you he was a stand up guy. He was a loving father, a good husband, and an outstanding forecaster. The story didn't mention how his wife served him with divorce papers in the days before the suicide attempt. Storm Chasing is stressful and although I feel for his two sons, I also understand the grief he was going through. RIP Matt. We will miss you.

1416 days ago
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