"We couldn't have asked for a better father, grandfather and overall family man," the Schnabel family tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. "He was a true legend and we appreciate all of your love and support as we celebrate his wonderful life."
He passed along his gold mining knowledge to grandsons Payson and Parker, who took over operations from Schnabel at age 16.
Schnabel was born in 1920 to a Kansas wheat farmer, who fled to Alaska after U.S. Marshals came looking for him for brewing bootleg alcohol.
Discovery is airing a special featuring Schnabel and his grandson Parker Friday at 9 p.m. The network is also honoring him with a memorial card on-air ahead of a two-hour Gold Rush event at 7 p.m. ET.
Gold Rush Legends: Parker Schnabel airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET.