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Popular reptile expert Brian Barczyk dies after battle with pancreatic cancer

Popular reptile expert Brian Barczyk, known for sharing his passion for reptiles in social media videos, has died following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Reptarium, a reptile zoo founded by Barczyk in Utica, Michigan, announced his death on Monday.

“More than the guiding light of our organisation, Brian’s fervent passion for reptiles and wildlife, along with his steadfast dedication to education, has touched innumerable hearts and minds globally,” The Reptarium team wrote on Instagram.

Just over a week ago, Barczyk uploaded an emotional YouTube video titled “This is Goodbye...” to send a farewell message to his five million subscribers and the many fans he has garnered through creating content showing day-to-day life in the reptile zoo, as well as educational reptile videos.

“You guys have followed along, and I appreciate you guys so much,” he said in the video.

“It has been an amazing journey and one that has changed my life; each one of you has changed my life like you can’t believe.”

Barczyk was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer on 27 February 2023. The disease quickly developed to stage 4, he said last year.

He told WXYZ that he was first prompted to go to the doctor after experiencing back pain.

“The pain was abdominal, you know, like from stomach to back,” he said.

Barczyk had kept his fans up to date with his health struggles in his vlogs, letting them know about his pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

His reptile zoo holds around 3,000 animals and is currently completing an extension across from the current building, calling it the LegaSea Aquarium.

However, the expert said in a recent video that he would not be able to see it completed, according to WXYZ.

“We beat a lot of odds in our life; this one we didn’t beat... Please come and see me at the LegaSea; my spirit will be there,” he told fans in his final video message.

“I love you guys. You guys be good, inspire people."

As Barczyk was entering hospice care, he said that his family would continue to complete the aquarium and update his vlog.

Before his YouTube channel became the success it is today, Barczyk was also featured in the TV series Venom Hunters on the Discovery Channel.

His YouTube career has also seen him collaborate with some of the platform’s biggest stars, such as MrBeast and Logan Paul.

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