He died Sunday night of natural causes, said Ayn Allen, communication manager for KCET, which produces California’s Gold. She said Howser’s death was “a complete surprise,” and the station was planning a special to celebrate his life on SoCal Connected at 5:30 p.m.
“This is a tremendous personal and professional loss to his friends and colleagues, as well as his legions of fans,” the station said in an emailed statement. ” “Huell elevated the simple joys and undiscovered nuggets of living in our great state. He made the magnificence and power of nature seem accessible by bringing it into our living rooms. Most importantly, he reminded us to find the magic and wonderment in our lives every day.”
The statement applauds Howser for bringing attention to previously obscure parts of the state and showing the wonder of them.
“From pastrami sandwiches and artwork woven from lint to the exoticism of cactus gardens and the splendor of Yosemite–he brought us the magic, the humor and poignancy of our region,” the statement says. “We will miss him very much.”
He retired in November, amid speculation that he might be ill, but he didn’t provide details at that time.
Howser moved to Los Angeles in 1991 from his native Tennessee, according to his website, Huell Howser Productions.
His most well-known show, started in 1991, was based on the premise that traveling the state with “an open mike an an open mind” would reveal many treasures in the state that people would want to see.
I considered Huell a personal friend. I will miss him and his unique sense of humor. 29 Palms especially has lost a vocal supporter of our town. We owe Huell Howser much in making 29 a tourist destination…. Thanks Huell and we will miss you…