Television star Joel Taylor has died aged 38, leaving his loved ones "shocked and absolutely devastated."

The Oklahoma native, who was best known for starring in Discovery Channel show Storm Chasers, died on Tuesday (23 January), with his friends announcing the sad news on social media.

Taylor's cause of death has not been confirmed, though it is not believed to be related to storm chasing, according to a local Facebook page.

His friend and co-star Reed Timmer confirmed the tragic news on Twitter last night. He shared images of his "best friend" with the words: "RIP my best friend and storm chasing partner, Joel Taylor.

"I am shocked and absolutely devastated by the loss of my incredible, caring friend. We chased so many intense storms, and I wish we could have just one more storm chase. I'll miss you forever, Joel. We lost a legend."

Team Western OK Chaser – a group based in Oklahoma – also shared a tribute to Taylor. They posted a picture of him with the words: "Our community of Elk City and the Storm Chasing community lost a great guy today. Joel Taylor was truly an inspiration to myself and many who knew him.

"He was one of the most level headed chasers on the roads and truly a classy guy outside of chasing. He didn't chase for the glory he chased because he had a true passion for storms.

"In the last few years he'd load up with his dad and go chase and not even take a camera. Our hearts are hurting for his mom Tracy and dad Jimmy along with his brother and sister and their children. Please know you are in our prayers. RIP Joel."

Taylor's last post on Facebook was from 15 January and gave no indication of any health problems. He shared some happy news by writing: "My first niece arrived this morning!"

Fans have been paying tribute to the star on social media, with one person writing: "An entire generation of meteorologists and storm chasers grew up on and were inspired by the actions of Joel Taylor. May his spirit carry on in them and may he rest in peace."

While another said: "I'm literally in tears right now I spent so much time watching storm chasers and that helped feed my want to be a meteorologist I can't believe Joel Taylor is gone. RIP to one of the best."