This article has been amended since first posting.
A North Vancouver husband, father and restaurateur died in a paragliding accident off Mount Kilimanjaro Saturday while raising money to benefit Tanzania.
Justin Kyllo, the owner of Smoke and Bones BBQ restaurant on Marine Drive, was making his third trip to the East African country as part of Wings of Kilimanjaro, a registered charity that helps provide clean water, education and environmental restoration in Tanzania, according to the organization’s website.
Kyllo died following an accident on Stella Point, a crater on Kilimanjaro’s tallest peak, according to a statement from Tanzania Parks. He was 51.
Kyllo wrote about the emotional experience of returning to Tanzania and seeing operational water wells in Maasai tribal lands and a primary school “full of children.” He also credited Wings of Kilimanjaro for giving him: “the most amazing memories and experiences.”
Kyllo had been planning to summit the mountain and paraglide down with his wife, Cheryl, according to a notice on the Smoke and Bones Facebook page.
Kyllo worked as an automotive technician before he broke his back and arms in a paragliding accident off Grouse Mountain in 2002. It was during his recovery that he started watching the Food Network and cooking. Kyllo eventually became a world class barbecue champion while founding his own restaurant and catering company.
Speaking to the North Shore News in 2012, Kyllo was enthusiastic about the way his life had changed course.
“I was unhappy as an autoworker,” he said. “I’d done it; I wanted a new trade. I had young kids, I didn’t know what to do. And everything worked out, and my life is just so different. I have a pretty cool life.”