Mat George, co-host of the She Rates Dogs podcast, has died following a hit and run in the Beverly Grove neighbourhood in Los Angeles.
The podcaster’s death was confirmed by Michaela Okland, his podcast co-host, on Twitter on Saturday (18 July). He was just 26-years-old.
The Los Angeles Police Department referenced Mat George’s death in a statement, although law enforcement authorities did not name him. The New York Times has confirmed that the statement relates to George’s death.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, George was struck by a white BMW at 2.20am on 17 July. The drive was travelling eastbound in the number one lane of Beverly Boulevard when they ran George over.
Mat George was crossing the road at an unmarked crosswalk when he was struck. The driver of the car did not stop and failed to contact authorities about the incident.
George was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire Department shortly afterwards.
Police are offering a $50,000 reward for anybody with information on the driver that leads to their identification and conviction.
Mat George’s mother shared her ‘immense sadness’ following his tragic death
Okland shared the news with the world on Saturday, telling her followers that she wanted them to hear about his death before it reached the news.
“Mat was killed in a hit and run last night. I don’t really have any other words right now,” she tweeted.
“I wish I could contact everybody who knows him personally but the news is already out and I just can’t do it right now.”
Mat George, who is originally from Arizona, moved to Los Angeles last year to pursue an entertainment career. Before that, he worked as a medical scribe in Phoenix.
Mary Ann Schaffer George, the mother of the deceased, spoke of her “immense sadness” in a Facebook post shortly after his death.
“Mathew was a very loving, kind, unbelievably funny, and gentle soul. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten,” she wrote.
“He is forever in our hearts. He was a bright light that warmed many. Mathew was passionate about advocating for and supporting marginalised communities.”
She asked that people donate funds to Operation Breakthrough, which works with children affected by poverty, or queer advocacy group GLSEN.
Mat George wanted to ‘make a difference’ to LGBT+ youth
In an interview with ShoutOut Arizona published last year, Mat George opened up about his decision to leave behind his plans to embark on a medical career to instead delve into the world of entertainment in Los Angeles.
“I knew it was risky but I also knew that if I didn’t try I would never stop wondering what could’ve been,” he said.
“So I did it. I packed up my apartment and left my friends in Arizona to move to LA and start She Rates Dogs the Podcast with my best friend, Michaela Okland.”
He also revealed that he started to open up about his “experiences as a gay man” towards the end of his time at Arizona State University – and people’s reactions made him realise that he could become a full-time entertainer.
Shortly afterwards, George fell into “comedy Twitter”, where he realised that he could “actually make a difference” through humour.
“Growing up and being in the closet, I never knew anyone or heard about anyone who had similar experiences and fears that I had,” he said.
“My hopes for my Twitter account and SheRatesDogs the Podcast is to share my stories and make LGBTQ+ people all across the world feel like they’re not alone.”
He also heaped praise on Okland in the interview, saying she had given him the opportunity to “chase his dreams”.
“She has been my rock throughout the past few years and I’m so fortunate to have met her while attending ASU,” he said.