Mythbusters host Adam Savage is mourning the death of Jessi Combs, who was a regular on the popular science entertainment show in its seventh season.
Savage spoke with ET Live's Jason Carter and Melicia Johnson on Thursday after news broke that Combs -- a professional racer -- died on Tuesday in a tragic accident. Oregon's Harney County Sheriff’s Office said that Combs was attempting to break a land speed record on the Alvord Desert but crashed her jet car, and was pronounced dead at the scene. She was 36 years old.
"It's a real shock and my heart goes out to her family and friends and her boyfriend," Savage says. "What they're going through must be absolutely awful right now."
Savage recalled how Combs stepped in for season seven of Mythbusters after Kari Byron went on maternity leave, and was immediately embraced by fans.
"I will tell you that Mythbusters fans are very rabid fans," he notes. "They love their Mythbusters and they wanted it exactly the way they wanted it. So when Kari took a maternity leave and we had to find someone to fill her shoes, we were afraid that would be a losing game, that nobody would accept anyone but Kari. But Jessi stepped in with a fundamentally different personality and a different approach to the show, and Mythbusters fans fell in love with her and accepted her as a member of our wonderful family, and that is no small feat."
The special effects designer talked about the legacy Combs has left behind, and noted how she was especially inspirational to young girls interested in science.
"The Jessi that I knew wanted to inspire young people like her to try things that they were maybe afraid to try and didn't think was possible," he shares. "She achieved tremendous success in a club that was very much a boys club and she held her own tremendously and including all of that, she was also a tremendous science communicator. She shared her knowledge, she shared her enthusiasm, she shared her love on what she did with the world and that is super inspiring."
"We never set out to make Mythbusters an inspirational show, but it clearly was," he continues. "And a lot of the questions I get a lot of the time is how do we get little kids, especially little girls, interested in science? Wonderful female scientists gave me the answer a few years ago. The answer is just get out of the way. Jessi is someone who took care of obstacles in front of her and left a trail of enthusiasm behind her, and I think that is an excellent legacy to leave. Get out of the way of young people who are interested in science and the STEM fields, because all children are natural scientists and engineers."
On Wednesday, Savage tweeted about Combs' death.
"I’m so so sad, Jessi Combs has been killed in a crash," he wrote. "She was a brilliant & too-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence. My heart goes out to her family."
I’m so so sad, Jessi Combs has been killed in a crash. She was a brilliant & too-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence.