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“Deadliest Catch” captain Phil Harris has died. He suffered a stroke while offloading a catch at port in Alaska on January 29, 2010, and underwent emergency surgery. First reports indicated that Phil was showing signs of improvement but his condition began to deteriorate within the past few days. He was 53.

Phil is survived by sons Jake Harris and Josh Harris, who worked alongside their father on his vessel “Cornelia”. The boys released a statement: “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.”

Also releasing a statement was Discovery Channel’s senior vice president Elizabeth Hillman: “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.”

Working on a boat was literally a lifelong love for Phil. He began his career at the tender age of seven and was running his own vessel by the age of 21.

Read more on Phil’s life at PopEater.

More photos of Harris below: