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Cornelia Marie captain Phil Harris is dead

Deadliest Catch star Phil Harris, who captains the Cornelia Marie, has died. The Discovery Channel released this statement from his sons, Jake and Josh Harris:

“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 just released this 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.”

Phil had a stroke while offloading the boat on Jan. 29, and was placed into a coma after surgery. But he came out of that, telling his doctors and nurses “don’t fuck up,” and a Saturday blog post on the ship’s site said he “was talking to friends and family today; showing his greatest progress since he suffered a massive stroke one week ago.”

Phil’s bio said he started “working on fishing boats beginning at the tender age of seven,” and he bought the Cornelia Marie with business partners in 1990. In the Deadliest Catch season that aired in 2008, Phil suffered a pulmonary aneurysm.