• Ami Brown is the matriarch of the Brown family featured on the Discovery Channel series "Alaskan Bush People".
• The show follows the family as they live off the grid in the Alaskan wilderness.
• In 2017, Ami was diagnosed with lung cancer, but was declared cancer free in 2018.
• In 2021, Ami's husband and patriarch of the family, Billy, passed away.
• The Brown family continues to live off-grid and is expected to return for a fifteenth season of the show in 2023.
Ami Brown is an American reality television personality, who rose to fame as the matriarch of the Brown family in the Discovery Channel original series “Alaskan Bush People”.
The show followed Billy Brown, his wife Ami and their seven children, as they live – some would say survive – in the Alaskan wilderness away from society, mostly away from the comforts of a modern life, which includes basic utilities as well as advanced technology.
Filmed as a documentary reality drama series, “Alaskan Bush People” is set in the remote regions outside of Hoonah, Alaska, where the Brown family lived by fending for themselves with old, traditional methods such as hunting, trapping and logging.
The series proved to be popular among Discovery Channel’s viewers, eventually raking in an extensive following. With the show’s popularity unquestioned, the series continued to air for fourteen seasons, the latest of which premiered in October 2022.
While the show is known for dramatizing somewhat the daily difficulties and struggles of the Brown family’s off-grid lifestyle, the Browns nonetheless faced considerable turmoil through the years, but the most recent tragedy to devastate the family might be the worst they have experienced in years.
Of course, the loss of the family patriarch, Billy, would shatter the Brown family, but it also has fans questioning the future of “Alaskan Bush People”. Might this be the end of a long-running success, or will the show go on?
To make matters even worse, Ami, the surviving widow and matriarch of the family, fell ill in 2017 after, the diagnosis of which turned out to be cancer. At the time, regular viewers and followers of “Alaskan Bush People” were concerned for Ami’s future.
With people eager to know how she’s holding up since the passing of her husband on 7 February 2021, we’ll take a look at how Ami is doing.
Ami’s Early Life And Union With Billy
Born on 28 August 1964, in Fort Worth, Texas USA, the youngest daughter of Eugene and Earlene Branson, Amora ‘Ami’ Larene’s early life remains somewhat shrouded in mystery. However, while few details of her early life are known to the public, Ami did share a few tragic experiences of her childhood.
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According to the reality star, she endured many difficulties which included abuse at the hand of her father, Eugene. Ami’s closest relatives, namely her brother Les Branson, have since denied Ami’s claims, stating that she was the spoiled, younger sibling in the family, and that their parents never mistreated him or Ami.
Although Ami’s accusations are being questioned, it remains clear that to her, she had a difficult childhood, and according to her, she ran away from home at the age of fifteen, around which time she met Billy. Little information is available about Ami’s educational background.
She met Billy during the late seventies, back when he still owned and operated a private plumbing firm: the first time was when he delivered service at her family home, and according to Ami, it was love at first sight. Not long after their initial introduction, Ami ran away with Billy and tied the knot with him in 1979 – Billy, being nine years her senior, was 24, and while this might sound scandalous, it wasn’t an uncommon practice in Texas during that era.
During the first couple of years of their union, Billy and Ami lived in Fort Worth, as Billy continued to operate his plumbing business, but as time passed, the couple grew restless and hungered for adventure outside of conventional life.
Driven by their lust for excitement, Billy and Ami packed their bags in to van and travelled across the states for the next decade. During this time, Ami gave birth to their oldest son, Matthew ‘Mat’ Jeremiah, in September 1982; they welcomed their second child, Joshua ‘Bam Bam’, into the world in September 1984.
Two years after Joshua’s birth, the couple sold their van and moved to Alaska, where they settled outside of the town of Wrangell. Unfortunately, while they might have been enjoying the freedom of their lifestyle, the family suffered financially.
This forced Billy to work odd labour jobs for the first couple of years that they lived in Alaska, which often meant that Billy had to spend months away from home.
Then, during their first Alaskan winter, Billy, Ami and their two sons ended up stranded on Masman Island, where they struggled for survival for 18 months before eventually being rescued and returned to the town of Port Protection.
While it might have been a traumatic experience for most people, the difficulties Billy and his family endured convinced them that they could easily survive the Alaskan wilderness. Hungry for adventure and eager to step away from the common lifestyle of society, Billy decided to move his family to the outskirts of Hoonah where they would begin to live a self-sustained life.
As time passed, Billy and Ami welcomed the remainder of their children into the world. Solomon ‘Bear’ Isaiah Freedom entered the world in 1987, followed by Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Starbuck in 1989, and Noah Darkcloud in 1992.
In 1994 Ami gave birth to the couple’s first daughter, Amora Jean ‘Birdy’ Snowbird, and in 2002, Ami once welcomed the youngest child and daughter, Merry Christmas Kathryn Raindrop ‘Rainy’.
In 2014, the Brown family’s lifestyle attracted the interest of reality television, and pretty soon they had their own dedicated series on Discovery Channel. While the show has been called out for often being overdramatic and allegedly scripted, some of the difficulties on the show certainly can’t be faked.
Aside from the regular turmoils, this also includes Ami’s lung cancer diagnosis in 2016. Shortly after news broke of Ami’s illness, her condition worsened, and she was eventually hospitalised, and subsequently underwent numerous chemotherapy treatments, though the family appeared helpless about Ami’s future.
Fans of “Alaskan Bush People” were devastated by the news, but thankfully Ami survived the ordeal, and miraculously in 2018, was declared cancer free.
With fans and the tabloids claiming that the show is heavily scripted, people took to social media to express their doubts about Ami’s cancer diagnosis. Some even said that they knew she wouldn’t die because everything about the show is fake.
Unfortunately for most of the sceptics, and sad as it might be that people had to go to such lengths, Ami’s doctors responded to the media backlash with substantial medical records and proof of Ami’s illness, ultimately debunking the negative conspiracy theory.
Following this, Ami gained a lot of attention in the media due to her past family affairs, attracting the attention of the tabloids after her mother, Earlene, passed away. According to her brother, Les, the family became estranged from Ami because of Billy’s interference, and they hadn’t had contact with her in more than a decade after she moved to Alaska.
However, Ami remained adamant about the abuse she suffered at home, claiming that her family could only blame themselves for losing contact with her.
Billy’s Passing and Its Aftermath
In February 2021 news broke of the unfortunate and untimely passing of the Brown family patriarch, Billy, who passed at the age of 68.
Husband. Father. Trailblazer. What did Billy Brown mean to you?Leave a message for the Browns below before tonight’s heartbreaking #AlaskanBushPeople at 8p.
Initially, the first news of Billy’s death reached the public through Discovery Channel’s coverage of the incident, expressing their condolences towards the Brown family, and, of course, praising Billy for the years he had been a part of the Discovery family.
Bear Brown also expressed his grief on social media, praising his father for being an independent man who lived life on his own terms, and said that Billy will always be remembered in the legacy he left behind.
While the circumstances of Billy’s death remain obscure and private, it’s publicly known that Billy suffered a seizure shortly before succumbing, but the cause of the seizure has never been revealed.
Billy’s passing came only three years following a health scare that took place while filming in 2018. Billy experienced a ordeal that landed him in the hospital, and doctors confirmed that he had an upper respiratory infection which left him in a bad condition.
Fortunately, the Brown patriarch recovered and was able to move on with life, but it leaves people wondering if Billy’s poor health might have been the cause for his eventual passing.
Since then, fans of “Alaskan Bush People” formed a Facebook support page on which they continue to encourage the Brown family, more specifically, Ami, who they feared might have a health setback due to the difficulty of the situation.
However, despite the absence of the patriarch, the Brown family continued their journey as a self-sustained family, and as the stars of the reality show.
In fact, as Ami claims, Billy remains with them in spirit, driving them to continue with their way of life, and to live the dream Billy once inspired the family to follow. In the latest seasons of the show, the Brown family moved to Washington State, where they are now living and working on their ranch, for at least part of the year.
During the latest episodes, Ami and her children began working on expanding the ranch, as well as building a new barn for the animals.
Thus it’s safe to say that, while the family mourns the death of their father and husband, they certainly won’t lie down and allow life to pass them by. While the family might be going through a difficult time, they refuse to give up and quit, keeping up the life Billy inspired them to pursue.
To see how the family continues with their daily lives, overcoming difficulties, hardships, and the struggle of self-sustained living, feel free to catch the fourteenth season of “Alaskan Bush People”. For those wondering, while Discovery is yet to make an announcement, it might be safe to assume that the Brown family will be back for a fifteenth season in 2023, and everybody can look forward to it for now.