Death of a Coal star

VIEWERS of the 2011 US documentary series Coal, which followed the lives of the men of Cobalt Coal’s Westchester mine, have been saddened by the death of star Andy “The Legend” Christian.
Death of a <i>Coal</i> star Death of a <i>Coal</i> star Death of a <i>Coal</i> star Death of a <i>Coal</i> star Death of a <i>Coal</i> star

Andy Christian in a publicity shot for the documentary series Coal. Photo courtesy: Spike TV

Donna Schmidt

Christian, a continuous miner operator at the site long after the show wrapped, died September 23 at a Virginia hospital, according to a report late Wednesday in the Charleston Daily Mail.

Christian, a third-generation miner who worked at the operation with his son, Andy Jr, was 51. He reportedly succumbed to complications of kidney and heart failure.

“Our hearts are broken and we are saddened with the loss of Andy Christian," Cobalt chief executive officer Mike Crowder said.

“Andy was not only a loyal Cobalt Coal miner and nationally known figure on the TV show Coal, but he was an expert underground miner operator known as 'The Legend’. He was a hero to the coal mining industry.”

Crowder said Christian also served as a hero to him.

“It's tough men like Andy you can't help but admire, but what I admired most about Andy was behind the seasoned chiseled hands of a coal miner, he was a devoted husband, caring father and family man.”

The veteran miner was reportedly ill for some time, taking extended leave from Westchester and returning for a time before taking leave again to tend to his health.

During the last absence, Crowder said Christian entertained the idea of retiring.

“We knew Andy was sick for a long time, and he kind of prepped everybody that it was serious," Crowder told the paper.

“He was sicker than people realized."

A service was held this week in Roderfield, West Virginia.

Coal ran for one 10-episode season on US television’s Spike TV.

The show was the subject of some controversy – airing safety and health violations as well as depicting an average US coal mine operation despite its thinner seam and small crew. It will not return for a second season.

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