Billy Mays has passed away at the age of 50. Recognized as America’s greatest pitchman, you probably knew him best from the OxiClean commercials.
Billy was found this morning by his wife in his Tampa, Florida home unresponsive after having died in his sleep. His wife released the following statement: "Although Billy lived a public life, we don't anticipate making any public statements over the next couple of days. Our family asks that you respect our privacy during these difficult times."
TMZ reports that Mays had just returned home from Philadelphia where he had been shooting a new OxiClean commercial. Yesterday he was a passenger on a U.S. Airways flight that made a hard landing in Tampa after a front tire was blown.
Brenda Geoghagan, spokesperson for Tampa International Airport, tells People none of the passengers sustained injuries. She says the flight "made an emergency landing Saturday because the two front tires blew out under the nose wheel. We had a rocky landing because of it, and passengers were taken off of the plane in a bus and driven to a secure area where they were interviewed then released to get their bags. There were no injuries then."
Billy spoke with Fox 13 in Tampa, saying, "All of a sudden as we hit you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping. It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head."
He also wrote on his Twitter: "Just had a close call landing in Tampa. The tires blew out upon landing. Stuck in the plane on the runway. You can always count on US Air."
The latest development is that Mays may have not been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the hard landing. An FAA spokesperson told TMZ this morning, "At this point in time, we cannot have any idea who was or wasn't wearing their seat belt on the plane."
Mays is survived by his wife and two children. He was currently starring in the Discovery show Pitchmen. Discovery Channel spokeswoman Elizabeth Hillman released a statement today saying, "Everyone that knows him was aware of his larger-than-life personality, generosity and warmth. Billy was a pioneer in his field and helped many people fulfill their dreams. He will be greatly missed as a loyal and compassionate friend."