Mythbusters regular Erik Gates dies in freak accident

Erik Gates, a regular on the popular show MythBusters, has died following a thirty foot fall in a work-related accident.

Gates, 47, owned Gateco Electric and was working at a site when he fell through a skylight. Gates suffered blunt force chest injuries and died on Sunday. In an even sadder twist, Gates’ brother Dirk Gates is president and CEO of Xirrus, Inc.- the company that owns the site where his brother was killed. Xirrus’ CFO commented on the tragedy to the Ventura County Star:

“He was a good guy,” Steve DeGennaro, Xirrus Inc.’s co-founder and chief financial officer, said Monday. “He survived cancer, he jumps with parachutes, he base jumps. He’s an active guy who was used to taking precautions. This was a freak accident that shouldn’t have happened.”

Erik and Dirk Gates were active in rocketry and operated a website, Gates Brother Rocketry. It was Gates’ expertise in rockets that initiated his involvement with MythBusters. On the MythBusters official Twitter feed, condolences were expressed for Gates earlier today:

(1 of 2) Team MB wishes to express our deepest sympathies on the passing of our beloved rocket expert, Erik.

(2 of 2) You were an honorary MythBuster and will be sorely missed.

Erik Gates appeared on four episodes of MythBusters as the shows “Amateur Rocket Expert.” He appeared on the initial pilot for the show in 2003, and in subsequent episodes Ming Dynasty Astronaut (2004,) Bullet Proof Water, 360 Degree Swing (2005,) and Confederate Rocket (2005.)