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‘Amazing Race’ producer Jeff Rice poisoned in Uganda

A freelance producer for reality TV show The Amazing Race has been found dead in his hotel room in Uganda after a suspected poisoning.

Father-of-two Jeff Rice and his assistant were apparently poisoned after refusing to give up their belongings to local thugs, FoxNews.com reported.

A source told the news site that after refusing to give in to the men, Rice and his female assistant ‘ended up very sick with poisoning of some kind’.

His wife Sally Blackman added that the woman, whom she did not name, remained in critical condition in hospital.

‘They were not attacked but [evidence] points towards being poisoned,’ she told FoxNews.com.

‘His production assistant was also discovered in a coma and has been hospitalised in Uganda. She has not shown any improvement as yet.’

Uganda police are investigating the incident and no further details are available at this time, she added.

Rice and his assistant were part of a team that helped create challenges across Africa for the CBS show, The Amazing Race.

They were not working on the show at the time of the suspected poisoning, but they had helped with the current season, which hit screens on Sunday

Rice, originally from the United States, had worked in Los Angeles, California for five years before moving to Durban in South Africa.

He married Blackman in 2001 and they went on to have two children, now aged seven and one. He had planned to travel home this week to celebrate his daughter’s second birthday.

‘Jeff was a dedicated father who made the most of his time with his family when back home in South Africa,’ his wife told FoxNews.com.

‘He has left a huge void, not only in the film industry, but with his family he has left behind. We will miss his smiles and constant humor.’

In 1999, Rice and Blackman founded SB Productions, which produces and facilitates films, adverts, documentaries and television shows.

Its website describes Rice as ‘the ideas man… His mind is always churning’.

‘Jeff has an incredible calm nature and a wicked sense of humour,’ it writes. ‘Having played baseball as a kid, he is always ready for the next curve ball. Jeff has the knack for putting together great teams.’

He also ran the production company Maverick Entertainment, which had employed the assistant.

His wife said it had been his intention for the company to work throughout Africa.

‘He loved the African people and was driven to share in all the various cultures,’ she said.

Among other projects, Rice worked on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars and the South African version of The Biggest Loser.

As a facilitator, Rice would have been hired by the production company to make arrangements with local officials before teams arrived for filming.

Friends of the late producer flocked to Twitter to express their shock at his untimely death.

American TV personality and adventurer Josh Gates wrote: ‘Floored by the loss of my dear friend and adventurer, Jeff Rice. You were, quite simply, the real deal. I’ll never forget you.’

Gates tweeted a picture of the two men, writing: A photo with Jeff Rice in Madagascar. I can’t believe you’re gone, buddy.’

Rex Williams, from Syfy’s Destination Truth, wrote: ‘Lost my great friend, Jeff Rice. I can’t tell you how saddened we are. He was a true adventurer.’

The Amazing Race, which first aired in 2001 and is in its 20th season, shows teams of two racing around the world for a prize of $1 million.

This season of the show, which garners some of the network’s biggest ratings, features teams racing across five continents and 22 cities.

The show’s production company, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, had ‘no knowledge’ of the incident. CBS did not comment on Rice’s death.

Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chiefhttp://www.mikodreamz.com
Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the NOLA Music Awards from 2012-present & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. Her PR work has been highly recognized & awarded. She was/is publicist for the late great BTY YoungN, 0017th and more. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Arlene@theheatmag.com. Follow her on Twitter - @CategorySeven & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.
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