Captain Phil Harris, star of Discovery’s ‘Deadliest Catch,’ has died.
Harris, who captained the Cornelia Marie for 18 years, suffered a massive stroke on Jan. 29th while offloading the boat in St. Paul Island, Alaska. After a difficult surgery and a medically induced coma to reduce brain swelling, Harris was reportedly ‘showing progress’ over the weekend. A Discovery spokesperson confirmed Captain Phil passed away Tuesday at age 53.
Harris’ sons, Jake and Josh, made the announcement:
“It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dad — Captain 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 also released the following statement:
“Discovery mourns the loss of dear friend and colleague Captain Phil Harris. 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. We send our thoughts and prayers to Phil’s sons Josh and Jake and the Cornelia Marie crew.”
Captain Harris, who was based in Seattle, suffered from health issues in recent years. In 2008, he was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism when a blood clot in his leg traveled to his lungs.
Watch Candid Moments with the Captains Below:
He gave a lengthy interview to Fancast last summer when he finally returned to the Cornelia Maria. “[My recovery] was painfully slow but I’m doing better now,” he said. “It was good to be back with all the guys, you know? It was hard to sit and watch. I want to be out there kicking some ass.”
Asked if he was happy his two sons were following in his footsteps, Harris brightened.
“You know, I fished with my dad and we have another boat that all of us fish on: the kids, myself, and my dad,” he said. “And the kids fish with my dad. So there are three generations and I feel really fortunate that we were able to pull that off. Most people don’t have the friendship like I do with my kids, [where I] get to live with them and work with them. But, it comes with a cost, when they were little I missed a lot of stuff too. I’m really lucky. I’m the luckiest dad around.”