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Jim Tom Hedrick Dies: ‘Moonshiners’ Star And Master Distiller Was 82

Marvin “Jim Tom” Hedrick, the colorful master distiller from Discovery’s Moonshiners, passed away this morning, according to his co-stars Eric “Digger” Manes and Mark Ramsey. He was 82.

Hedrick was on Moonshiners almost since the show’s inception. He joined the cast for Season 2 in 2012 and remained with the show through Season 6. He left to go legit, helping start Sugarland Shine, a distillery in Gatlinberg, TN.

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The company’s web site describes him as a “moonshiner, master storyteller and still maker,” and “one of the most skilled moonshiners in Appalachia.”

See him hold forth on the ways of a master shiner in the Moonshiners clip below.

In August, Digger and Mark posted photos of Jim Tom convalescing, with the note, “Prayers for our buddy Jim Tom! Praying for comfort and peace! We love you JT!”

Five days ago, the duo posted a message from Jim Tom’s cousin, Tina.

“He is comfortable and resting with no pain right now (which is what we’ve been praying for),” read the note. “He knows he is loved by so many of you… but most of all he knows where he’s going when he leaves this world for his Heavenly home.”

This morning, Sugarland Shine posted the following tribute to Hedrick:

It’s with heavy hearts we say goodbye to our dear friend Marvin “Jim Tom” Hedrick. Born Christmas Day, 1940, 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.

Jim Tom touched the lives of countless individuals and was especially eager to pass along his lifetime of moonshining knowledge to a new generation of distillers, ensuring the craft would endure.

“Jim Tom Hedrick was one of the first veteran moonshiners to truly embrace Sugarlands when we opened our doors,” said Ned Vickers, Sugarlands president and founder. “Gaining the stamp of approval from Jim Tom was instrumental in shaping the authenticity of Sugarlands, and we’re forever indebted to his support and friendship.”

Join us as we raise a jar to the life of Jim Tom Hedrick.

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