Neal James, The Banjo Man on Animal Planet’s ‘Call of the Wildman,’ Dies at 55

Series regular and fan favorite had “serious heart issues,” deputy coroner tells TheWrap

Last Updated: February 1, 2019 @ 4:22 PM

Neal James, The Banjo Man on Animal Planet’s “Call of the Wildman,” died early Friday morning in Kentucky. He was 55.

The beloved Banjo Man had “serious heart issues,” Washington County Deputy Coroner Freddie Carey told TheWrap, citing that as James’ cause of death.

James’ body is at the Spurlin Funeral Home in Stanford, Kentucky, Carey told us.

“We’re saddened to learn of Neal James – The Banjo Man’s passing and we share our sincerest condolences with his wife, family and friends,” Animal Planet told TheWrap in a statement.

“Call of the Wildman” ran for four seasons, from 2011 to 2014. James was a series regular and a fan favorite.

The reality show followed Ernie Brown Jr., aka “The Turtleman.” Neal, his best friend, helped Ernie catch wild animals in central Kentucky.

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