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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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Suzanne- Thank you. I find it hard to read these posts and had decided to stop, but keep coming back because some are very positive and that helps a lot, plus I feel obligated to correct those that have no idea what they are talking about. He was getting help for depression, but I'm guessing his wife serving him with divorce papers a couple days before and then the drinking was enough to push him over the edge. I realize people commit suicide because they are sick, but part of me will never understand the selfishness involved, but only because I'm not walking in their shoes. All I know is if things are bad enough for one to kill themselves things must be really bad and who am I to judge their actions?

1447 days ago


Lisa, I have been on the edge just like Matt was. The only difference is that I didn't take that final step.

When you are that depressed, you just want the pain to stop. And it is a very real pain, both physical and emotional and unfortunately, to some pain of depression takes over and that's all you can think about.

There are 2 kinds of depression, clinical and situational. Clinical involves brain chemistry and situational involves things like being served with divorce papers. The two combined is just overwhelming.

My heart breaks because Matt didn't have to die. There is help out there. Why some people chose to seek help while others don't I honestly don't understand. Depression is such a monster.

I hope that hearing from someone who has been there helped answer some of your questions.

I pray that Matt is now at peace.

1447 days ago

im mom    

Hey #3, I will tell you who does ex-husband who also had 2 kids, that's who. Do you know anything about suicide/depression? If I were you, I'd pipe down before speaking, its offensive

1447 days ago


I wouldn't wish depression on my worst enemy, not even the a$$ hats here who obviously remain ignorant of the reality of this disease. It's not a bad day, or something that you can beat by you just picking yourself up by the bootstraps. It's a chemical imbalance in the brain that makes it as real a disease as diabetes or cancer. Unfortunately, there are still enough people that are either a.) uneducated hillbilly white trash b.)possibly educated but not intelligent c.)subscribers of certain retarded religious dogma and therefore have no reason to learn anything more than what they are told to believe. If you fall into one of the aforementioned categories or tend to say something along the lines "they had no reason to kill themselves" or "they had everything to live for and were just being selfish" or ... Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on the subject.

1447 days ago

im mom    

I am going to make a suggestion to all you *******s who are posting and have no experience or education about suicide, to just stop. Go talk about David Cassidy. And to everyone with kind words and compassion, thank you. Like alot of you, I have lost my childrens father to suicide. It's hard enough having to celebrate christmas day every year with my kids remembering he shot himself in the head on that day, but then to have to know that nasty and ignorant people out there think they can judge, is even worse

1447 days ago


When I was 17, my best friend's dad killed himself. I watched that family fall apart, go downhill and go wild. I was so angry with him for the longest time because of what he did to his family, until I had chronic pain problems which also messes with the chemicals in your body/brain. Pain wears you down, makes you depressed, depression wears your mind down, makes you tired, ..a vicious cycle. A kindly old doctor who could read minds, gently reminded me at one of my most worst moments, he said I know what you are thinking and you know you cannot do front of my father. a bit later, this wonderful doc was gone from cancer. He told none of his patients why he was limping around, too. Joked about his bad back too.
At my darkest day, I think of H.---and my anger because his family fell apart because of his suicide. I understand H. and I'm sorry, thank you and thanks DocW, not an option.. you are loved and missed.

RIP, Matt Hughes. The pain is gone now. Deepest Sympathy to his loved ones and fans. May you find support, courage, strength and love.

May all people in depression or pain find help and hope. There are millions who do care and understand around the world.

1447 days ago


I want to start by saying this is very sad for his sons and wife. I do find this a horrible selfish act and I do not care how many times you people come on here talking about what an illness it is. YOu dont wake up one day with this, dont have kids then because they will have to live with this the rest of their live wondering why their love wasnt enough. This is horrible. @ FAT SEAN HOW DARE YOU compare someone committing suicide to soldiers in war? Those men including my husband are brave and our children know this. They are nothing the same you idiot. Would that mean firemen, policemen or anyone else that puts themselves in danger to better this world your obvious pea sized brain lives in are the same as the people who commit suicide? YOu are so dumb. I want to finish by saying to the ones who say that these guys on this show who do so much good is full of crap. This show made me so angry I stopped watching it. These guys loved these big tornados and I have a problem with guys cheering when peoples homes and places of employment are being destroyed. They are sick, sick men. It went beyond scientific reasons. They did it for the thrill and peoples lives were being destroyed in the process while they cheered. They are disgusting.

1447 days ago

This is a stupidly degrading article    

What else should I even expect from TMZ other than total CRAP. Why the Hell would someone even go report on such a topic? You weren't satisfied with what Discovery said at the end of the episode last night so you had to go invade the poor Hughes family's privacy and dig up this CRAP?
How sad

Funny how misleading this article is...Typical media crap that only publishes pieces of entire stories that will stir up more conversation.

What ISNT published here is that Matt's passing was unrelated to chasing...After all, this great man's contributions to the scientific community are what keep YOU safe.
I eagerly await the day TMZ posts something legit

1447 days ago


From my own experience I can tell you Depression is a REAL disease....You can go days without symptoms and then all of a sudden be burdened with difficulties. Your perceptions can get skewed and things can be very overwhelming. Depression causes these symptoms. People don't choose to be depressed just like they don't choose to be a diabetic. It can happen to anyone at anytime. Stress can trigger it. He wasn't being SELFISH. When the disease flares up, sometimes your brain tricks you and you don't cope like you usually can when things are well... Normal thinking processes and skills aren't in tact. He wasn't well at the time he did this. God is a loving and forgiving God and he will not punish someone that was not well when they made a decision. I think we need to respect people's privacy. If the family wanted us to know, they would have released the information. Hugs and Prayers to his family. If you consider yourself a Christian quit judging and spread compassion. Thanks Matt for your contributions to weather. It means alot to us that live in Tornado Alley...

1447 days ago

patrick dempsey    

Ever since Matt joined Storm Chasers, there was always something about his eyes that struck me as....curious. Turns out, from what I've read elsewhere, he was battling depression. Matt's suicide attempt was only days after steering the TIV-2 team in to a tornado which TIV-2 survived fairly easily giving IMAX filmmaker Sean Casey his 'shot of a lifetime'. Makes me think this was the pinnacle of Matt's life and may have even been the catalyst for his decision to attempt suicide.

Selfish act? Yep - the most selfish thing anyone can do. How can he do this with two small kids and a wife? Agreed. But, depression is no joke and for those of us who have never stared down life and death and chosen death can't possibly know what was going on inside Matt's mind and heart.

He's gone now and we should pray for him and his family and never turn a blind eye to others close to us that may be in the same peril that Matt was in.

1447 days ago


RIP Matt. I did not personally know Matt, or watch the show that much but I will be saying a prayer for his family and friends. GOD'S Letter to us, THE HOLY BIBLE, says to be absent the flesh, is to be present with the Lord. I believe that Matt did pass away. His soul returned to the one who gave it. As far as where his soul will end up for eternity, only God knows. I don't believe that God would punnish one of his children for eternity because he became sick enough to end his suffering here on earth. GOD is a loving Father to all those children he created, even the ones who stray from his ways. He loves sinners as much as his followers. He only hates the sins that his children commit, not His child. Maybe someday all those who condem and judge will change their wicked ways, repent and come to know what a wonderful Father they have in Heaven.

1447 days ago


everyone has a story to tell and if you want a pity party go to ya jerks...everyone jumps all over me for just speaking the truth so be it..I could really care less...I think if I had a tragedy this clown could care less for me and if this idiot takes his life ,,tough luck for no sympathy for him..according to the bible god does not is very cheap and you clowns get on here every time and go wah wah wah for every loser that kills himself...go work at a suicide hotline if your so passionate about it..err no thats not going to happen because your too busy on here passing judgement on everyone who does not conform to your standards.Tomarrow all you do goody two shoes wont even be thinking about this guy...

1447 days ago


TMZ you suck!

1447 days ago


Danno (103) Very well said.

1447 days ago


Midnight Toker, please don't speak about things you know nothing about.

I for one strongly advocate mental health awareness and removing the stigma of mental health issues. I have had people come to me many times because they needed to talk to someone and they knew I had compassion (do you know what that word means?) for them. My goal is to become a Christian Lay Counselor so that I may learn how to better help people.

" phoney like these losers" How dare you say that we are judging others (earlier post), and then turn around and say something like that?

Say what you want, I don't care. I feel sorry for you actually.

1447 days ago
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