Deadliest Catch Captain Phil Harris Dies at 53

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Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie on Deadliest Catch has died.

Sons Jake and Josh Harris broke the news on the Discovery Channel show's official site, where updates on Harris had been posted since his January 30 stroke.

"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 entire crew, he was someone who never backed down."

"We will forever remember and celebrate that strength. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. - Jake and Josh Harris"

Harris, who was 53, was based out of Seattle, suffered a stroke during an offload of crab. He was found unconscious in a stateroom, was airlifted to Anchorage for 12 grueling hours of surgery, then placed in a medically induced coma.

R.I.P. Phil Harris with sons Josh and Jake.

He had shown signs of improvement last week, squeezing hands and even telling his doctors and nurses, in his signature gruff style, to not "f--k things up."

Phil Harris, a fisherman for 32 years, was a co-owner of the Cornelia Marie, which he'd captained for 18 years; Jake and Josh work on the ship as deck hands.

Fans reached out Tuesday night on the show's message boards, where comments have been posted since Phil Harris fell ill, offering condolences to the family.

The Discovery Channel said in a statement that Phil "more than someone on our TV. 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."

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