‘Gold Rush’: How Did Jason Harness Die?

by Amy Myers

The Gold Rush cast members have seen their fair share of injuries and health scares, but one star tragically passed away all too soon. Jason Harness was an Oregon-based mechanic that became a part of Todd Hoffman’s team for the first two seasons of the show. But even before Harness became one of the Hoffman employees, he already faced life-altering trauma.

Ten years before becoming a part of the Gold Rush cast, Harness was in a serious car wreck that resulted in a massive spinal injury. Unfortunately, though, Harness didn’t have the funds to be able to pay for the surgery.

Harness’s story finally seemed to reach a turning point when a Boston medical center caught wind of his story through the show. According to Starcasm, the center provided the Gold Rush star the procedure pro bono and even gave him medicine to help him manage the chronic pain that still accompanied the injury.

Sadly, Harness became addicted to his medication, and soon, he was missing too much work. In the end, Hoffman had to release Harness from his Gold Rush team, and that was the last we saw of him on reality TV. Then in July 2014, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Harness passed away from a stroke at the age of 57. Following the tragic news, Gold Rush created an episode that memorialized Harness’s time on the show. He leaves behind two children, a son, and a daughter.

Fellow ‘Gold Rush’ Star Finds Herself in Near-Fatal Accident

Years later, Gold Rush mine boss Rick Ness nearly lost a crew member of his own when a rookie rock truck driver, Leah Turnbull, directed her vehicle off the road and into the silt pond. In a matter of seconds, the massive vehicle began to sink into the muddy water like quicksand, nearly taking her with it. Ness had to act fast and get Turnbull out of the way of danger. Thankfully, she came away from the critical situation unscathed, but Ness couldn’t look past such a drastic mistake.

Watch what happened below.

“This is literally the f—ing worst case scenario right now,” the Gold Rush star said. “I f—ing hired new people, train them up in a rock truck and then watch them almost f—ing drown.”

Needless to say, Ness couldn’t let Turnbull continue with the rest of the Gold Rush crew after putting herself and a half-million-dollar vehicle in jeopardy. After he rescued the rock truck and employee from the precarious situation, he invited Turnbull to his truck and gave her the bad news – she would no longer be a part of his team. As sad as the moment was, Ness knew he had to look out for the rest of his employees. Had someone else been in the rock truck with her, the story could have had a much more tragic ending.