Imahara died suddenly following a brain aneurysm, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. “We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Grant. He was an important part of our Discovery family and a really wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” a representative for Discovery said in a statement on Monday.
An electrical engineer and roboticist by training, he joined Discovery’s MythBusters in its third season, replacing Scottie Chapman and was with the show until 2014 when he left with co-hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci. The trio would reunite in 2016 for Netflix’s White Rabbit Project which lasted for one season. On MythBusters, Imahara used his technical expertise to design and build robots for the show and also operated the computers and electronics needed to test myths.
While part of the Mythbusters team, he sky-dived and drove stunt cars, on film sets he came into contact with some of the most iconic characters in screen history, installing lights onto Star Wars‘ R2-D2, creating the robot Geoff Peterson for The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and working on the Energizer Bunny.
Born in Los Angeles, Imahara studied electrical engineering at the University of Southern California (though he briefly had doubts and wanted to become a screenwriter) before combining the two passions and landing a post-graduation gig at Lucasfilm-associated THX labs. In his nine years at Lucasfilm, he worked for the company’s THX and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) divisions. In his years at ILM he became chief model maker specializing in animatronics and worked on George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, as well as The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Galaxy Quest, XXX: State of the Union, Van Helsing, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.