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'Deadliest Catch' Captain Phil Harris Dead at 53

'Deadliest Catch' Captain Phil Harris has died, a Discovery Channel spokesperson confirms. He was 53.

The fishing boat captain of the Cornelia Marie suffered a stroke a week ago and was recently placed in a medically induced coma to reduce brain swelling.

He awoke last week and was thought to be showing signs of progress. However, the skipper suddenly passed away in hospital on Tuesday.

"It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dad -- Captain Phil Harris," his sons Josh and Jake Harris say in a statement.

"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."

Discovery Channel senior vice president Elizabeth Hillman describes Phil as "more than someone on our television screen."

"Phil was a devoted father and loyal friend to all who knew him," she says. "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."

The reality show, which depicts the crab fishing industry in the dangerous waters off Alaska, has consistently been one of the network's most popular programs.

Harris, started working on fishing boats at age 7, had been a veteran of the fishing industry for 32 years and the captain of Cornelia Marie for the past 18 years.

February 10, 2010 |

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