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Popular TikTok and YouTube Reptile Expert Brian Barczyk Dead at 54 from Pancreatic Cancer

"Brian’s absence leaves an immeasurable void," shared the reptile enthusiast's zoo, The Reptarium

<p>Jay Tomsky</p> Brian Barczyk

Jay Tomsky

Brian Barczyk

Brian Barczyk, the globally known reptile enthusiast with millions of fans across TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, died from pancreatic cancer after spending 10 days in hospice. He was 54.

Barczyk was the founder of the Michigan-based reptile zoo The Reptarium. The zoo announced Barczyk’s death on Monday via social media. Barczyk was first diagnosed on Feb. 27, 2023.

“More than the guiding light of our organization, Brian's fervent passion for reptiles and wildlife, along with his steadfast dedication to education, has touched innumerable hearts and minds globally,” read The Reptarium’s statement.

"We've lost an exceptional individual — a visionary, mentor, and friend. For those of us who had the privilege of working alongside him, Brian's absence leaves an immeasurable void, "continued the statement. "As we navigate this difficult time, we find comfort in the memories and the lasting light of Brian’s work. He will be deeply missed but indeed, never forgotten.”

He first gained recognition by starring on Discovery Channel's Venom Hunters in 2016. He also hosted a successful YouTube channel, which garnered 5.27 million subscribers.

Barczyk founded both the Reptarium Reptile Zoo and the Legasea Aquarium — which is set to open in the near future. Barczyk owned over 30,000 snakes, marking his collection as the world’s third-largest.

<p>Jay Tomsky</p> Brian Barczyk

Jay Tomsky

Brian Barczyk

At the start of the month and Barczyk’s hospice stay, the reptile enthusiast shared an emotional goodbye message on YouTube. “I appreciate you guys so much. It’s been an amazing journey.”

As the video continued, footage from April 2023 began with Barczyk candidly sharing he recorded the video in the event "that things didn't turn out very well." He added how he hoped the April footage would continue to “inspire millions of people who love animals.”

“I really appreciate you guys. Again you guys changed my life without you I wouldn’t have lived the life I live,” added Barczyk in April 2023. “It's been pretty spectacular.”

Barczyk’s final video included several montages of him with his several animals throughout the past seven years.

<p>Brian Barczyk/ YouTube</p> Brian Barczyk

Brian Barczyk/ YouTube

Brian Barczyk

“I love life so much now,” he simply shared in the January 2024 footage.

"You know the only way I was probably going to beat this cancer was this way,” said the reptile enthusiast. “It wasn’t because I gave up. I didn't give up. I was ready. It was such a battle... I’m telling you, I’m a tough person, and I don’t know how people do it. It’s so hard.”

“I’m going to be able to look down on the Legasea. I’m going to be able to look down on my family and everyone who I love,” he concluded in the emotional video. “I love you guys. You guys be good, inspire people."

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He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Lori, and their two children, Noah and Jade.

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