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Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” captain Phil Harris suffered a stroke on Saturday while offloading Alaskan king crab from his vessel, the 128-foot Cornelia Marie. He was transported to an Anchorage hospital where he underwent 12 hours of surgery before being placed in a medically induced coma to reduce brain swelling.

The network website posted the following: “Captain Phil is resting comfortably and is in the care of excellent doctors and nurses.”

Harris has been a captain for 32 years. For the past 18, he has led the Cornelia Marie crew, including his two sons who are deckhands. Jake and Josh have reportedly been at his bedside since he fell ill.

The popular television series follows the adventures of seven crabbing vessels and their crews during crab season in the Bering Sea. The Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, is the base of operations for the fishing fleet. The Cornelia Marie is currently back out to seas with a substitute captain.

During season four of “Deadliest Catch” in 2008, Phil became ill while out to sea when a blood clot passed through his lungs. His doctor called Harris lucky to have come out of that alive.

UPDATE: February 10, 2010: Captain Phil Harris is dead at age 53 – see update details here.

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