'Deadliest Catch' Captain Phil Harris Dies
By Bryan Alexander Posted Feb 10th 2010 02:48AM
The deep-sea fisherman, 53, suffered a stroke on Jan. 29 while in an Alaskan port off-loading a catch. He was flown to Anchorage for surgery and showed signs of recovery through the days following, but ultimately succumbed to the trauma.
"It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dad - Captain Phil Harris," his sons Jake and Josh Harris said in a statement posted on the Discovery Channel Web site. "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."
The reality show, which has filmed five seasons, has been one of the Discovery Channel's most popular. Harris was a central figure for this drama featuring the ageless tale of man taking on the elements. It depicts the crab fishing industry in the dangerous waters off Alaska.
In a statement, Discovery Channel senior vice president Elizabeth Hillman says, "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," she said.
Harris had been showing signs of recovery from the stroke. His sons wrote in a Feb. 3 posting on the ship's Web site: "No one ever said Captain Phil Harris wasn't tough. Today, dad showed some good signs of improvement, squeezing our hands and even summoning his trademark Captain's bluntness ... We are encouraged, but still very cautious."
Harris began working on a fishing boat at age 7, and by the time he was 21, he was running a fishing vessel out of Seattle.
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Thos Robinson, Getty Images
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