'Deadliest Catch' Captain Phil Harris Dies At 53

posted 2010-02-10 09:59:34 by MIKE

Capt. Phil Harris, one of the signature personalities that made the reality series "The Deadliest Catch" such a gigantic breakout hit for the Discovery Channel, died Tuesday (February 9) at the age of 53. Harris died of complications from a stroke he suffered on January 29.

Discovery mourns the loss of dear friend and colleague Captain Phil Harris," a statement from the channel said. "He was more than someone on our television screen. Phil was a devoted father and loyal friend to all who knew him. We will miss his straightforward honesty, wicked sense of humor and enormous heart. We share our tremendous sadness over this loss with the millions of viewers who followed Phil's every move."

Harris was the captain of the Cornelia Marie, one of several crab-fishing boats upon which "The Deadliest Catch" was focused, and one of the few to be featured in every season of the show. Through five seasons, the show depicted the extreme conditions that fishermen face while hunting for crab off the coast of Alaska. Harris' gruff personality, no-nonsense work ethic and acerbic sense of humor made him a fan favorite on the program.

Jake and Josh Harris, the captain's two sons, also issued a statement regarding their father's passing. "It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dad — Capt. Phil Harris. Dad has always been a fighter and continued to be until the end. For us and the crew, he was someone who never backed down. We will remember and celebrate that strength. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers."

The Discovery Channel will air the sixth season of "The Deadliest Catch" sometime in 2010.