Shooting was underway on season two of "Buckwild" at the time of Gandee's death, but MTV said film crews were not with him over Easter weekend and hadn't filmed him since earlier that week.
MTV said the half-hour series in the old "Jersey Shore'' time slot was pulling in an average of 3 million viewers per episode since its premiere and was the No. 1 original cable series on Thursday nights among 12- to 34-year-olds.
Shain Gandee, nicknamed "Gandee Candy'' by fans, was a breakout star of the show that followed the antics of young friends enjoying their wild country lifestyle. Season one was filmed last year, mostly around Sissonville and Charleston.
Some fans reacted angrily to the decision to cancel the show on social media, launching a campaign to keep the show alive using the hash tag #KeepBuckwildForShain on Twitter. Cast member Cara Parrish was also among those objecting.
"I think MTV should show reality. Losing Shain broke all our hearts,'' Parrish tweeted.
Although the idea of filming without Gandee "hurts me clear through my soul,'' she wrote, "the thought of turning our backs on his dreams is worse.''
But many others, including some at Gandee's funeral, said the show just wouldn't have been the same without him.
The network issued a statement from Loretta and Dale Gandee, thanking fans for their thoughts and prayers.
"We have truly felt all the love and know that Shain is resting peacefully,'' they said. "Shain was an incredible, outgoing and positive person who was loved by whoever he met. We are honored that we were able to let the world see what a wonderful son we had.''