Despite the tragic death of it's star, the show will survive because of several reasons: viewers will want to see the reaction of other players to Darrell Ward's loss, other characters have interesting stories, and the premise of the show remains valid. It is interesting, and it shows a life style and career path that meany people wish to know more about.
Although the death of Darrell Ward is tragic, the show was never really about one person. It was about the type of person that would do that job, and the conflicts that arise when it's getting done. The show will survive without him, but I would expect to see some sort of tribute before the next show airs.
While fans are often dissuaded from watching a show after a beloved character is gone, the nature of this show will allow it to continue if a suitable replacement is found. If the producers select another character for fans to enjoy, this type of show can move forward. The producers must acknowledge his death with a memoriam and find a replacement with a similar personality.
The show, "Ice Road Truckers," lost one of its key stars with the death of Darrell Ward. Yes, the show can survive without Ward, however, it will never be the same. Ward's personality and work ethic contributed greatly to the success of the show. It does seem hard to image the show without him; but, it does not mean that the series will be canceled.