John Schnabel: ‘Gold Rush’ Grandfather Opens Up About His Cancer Battle, Mentoring Grandson Parker

John Schnabel was the focus of a special episode of Gold Rush on Friday, and the 94-year-old also opened up to fans on Facebook to share his life lessons and his health scares.

Schnabel was the focus of a cliff-hanger to end last season of the popular Discovery Channel show, with fans left up in the air about his health.

In a Facebook chat with fans, John Schnabel opened up about his cancer battle, telling fans that he had recovered.

“How is your health now? You feeling ok?”

“My health is 100% better than a year ago. I think I’ll be around at least a few more days.”

“How are you doing, cancer free?”
“Sure am!”

“How do you stay so healthy and fit looking?”
“Hahaha, I think young. I eat well and exercise daily.”

The news is quite a turnaround from recent months. John’s grandson Parker had given an update at the 2014 CONEXPO-CON/AGG that said his grandfather was still fighting cancer.

“My grandpa is doing well. He still has cancer but has responded well to the radiation and chemo therapy that he has been on and if you saw him you would never know he has an issue. We just celebrated his 94th birthday a few weeks ago and it was great. He has great spirits, friends and family. Thank you all for the kind words and prayers.”

But in November, Parker had another update, this one much happier:

“So after 4 years my grandpa has been declared cancer free! I would like to thank everyone for the kind words and prayers. He is a very special guy and just told me that he can’t wait for next year and his 95th birthday.”

In his Facebook chat, John Schnabel also talked about his grandson, who he has taken under his wing.

“I think the biggest was trying to get him to understand that to be in charge has a responsibility and that you’re not the boss, you’re the leader, and I think his crew will teach him that.”

Parker noted that he’s learned a lot from his grandfather, about both life in general and the gold mining field.

“The biggest thing I learned this summer was how to just go for it, not worry about the consequences of what could go wrong, just striking out and going for something, whether it has to do with going up to the Klondike or dealing with people,” Parker said. “I’ve always been scared that somebody was going to quit if we treated them poorly, or I was scared to fire somebody if they weren’t working out. This summer, this all went away. If guys weren’t performing, we fired them. If guys weren’t doing their job, we’d tell them.”

The full chat with Gold Rush star John Schnabel can be found here.