Shain Gandee of MTV's ''Buckwild'' found dead in West Virginia

Mon Apr 1, 2013 2:48pm EDT

Shain Gandee, who starred in the MTV reality series ''Buckwild'' set in West Virginia, is shown in this undated publicity photograph released to Reuters April 1, 2013. Gandee was found dead in a car on April 1 in West Virginia, after being reported missing. REUTERS/Courtesy MTV/Handout

Shain Gandee, who starred in the MTV reality series ''Buckwild'' set in West Virginia, is shown in this undated publicity photograph released to Reuters April 1, 2013. Gandee was found dead in a car on April 1 in West Virginia, after being reported missing.

Credit: Reuters/Courtesy MTV/Handout

(Reuters) - A cast member of MTV reality show "Buckwild" was found dead in rural West Virginia on Monday after being reported missing by family members following a late-night session in a local bar.

Shain Gandee, 21, was found dead in a car along with two other men including his uncle David on Monday morning in Sissonville, Kanawha County, a spokeswoman for County Commissioner Kent Carper told Reuters.

"This is a very sad and tragic event. We live in a very small community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gandee family," Carper said in a statement.

Gandee was one of the lead cast members of "Buckwild," which follows a group of young adults living in rural West Virginia and has attracted some criticism for its portrayal of the cast's hard-partying ways.

Gandee was often seen on the show "four-wheeling" in his truck, driving in circuits on off-road terrain.

The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department did not release any information on the cause of death, saying it was investigating.

But the department had earlier issued a missing persons alert for Shain and David Gandee, who family members said were last seen at a local bar in Sissonville at about 3 a.m on Sunday.

"The two said they were going four-wheeling in Shain's Ford Bronco. No one knows where they planned to ride, or the direction in which they left," the sheriff's department said in its missing persons statement, adding that foul play was not suspected.

MTV said it was "shocked and saddened" by Gandee's death. "Shain had a magnetic personality, with a passion for life that touched everyone he met and we will miss him dearly," MTV said in a statement.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles Editing by Jill Serjeant and Eric Walsh)