Jim Tom Hedrick Of Moonshiners Dead At 82

Jim Tom Hedrick, former star of the Discovery reality TV show "Moonshiners," died on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 at the age of 82, his family told TMZ. The outlet gave little further information about the circumstances surrounding his death, other than he died in Robbinsville, North Carolina. Hedrick reportedly had kidney cancer and was on dialysis. 

Discovery's "Moonshiners" follows the exploits of modern-day traditional moonshiners. Hedrick joined the series in Season 2 in 2012 and quickly became a fan favorite. His most recent appearance on the show was in Season 10's "Smoke to the Fire" in 2021. Hedrick also pursued an above-board career making whiskey at Sugarlands Distilling Co., according to the company's website. When his death was announced, Sugarlands said in a statement (via TMZ), "Jim Tom dedicated much of his life to the art of moonshining, becoming a legend in Appalachia along the way. Jim Tom's well-earned reputation as one of the most skilled moonshiners in the South earned him a role on the hit television program 'Moonshiners,' where his colorful personality endeared Jim Tom to the hearts of millions."

He was also a musician

Jim Tom Hedrick died where he was born in 1940: North Carolina. In addition to his work making whiskey and appearing on TV, he was also a musician and singer. His song "Golly That's Good" can be heard above and appeared on the "Moonshiners" soundtrack in 2014. Hedrick also contributed the song "Romeo's Got Nothin' on Me" to the show in 2015. A few days before he died, his "Moonshiners" co-stars Mark and Digger posted an update on Facebook about his health, saying he was "comfortable and resting with no pain right now."

In the months leading up to his death, Hedrick's family also shared photos of him in a nursing home bed — where he'd reportedly spent much of the year before he died — on social media. As news of Hedrick's death spread, @Kundun66 tweeted, "I'll be raising a glass of Sugarlands Signature Jim Tom moonshine in honour of the passing of an absolute legend in the moonshine distillation family." Elsewhere, @bill_mynatt added, "There will be a shot of rye moonshine whiskey consumed in your memory."