The Associated Press
Phil Harris, the fishing boat captain whose adventures off the Alaska coast were captured on the television show "Deadliest Catch", has died, the Discovery Channel said Tuesday night. He was 53.
Harris suffered what his family described as a massive stroke on Jan. 29 while the fishing vessel he captained, Cornelia Marie, was in port at St. Paul Island, Alaska. The fisherman was flown to Anchorage for surgery.
The reality show, which has filmed five seasons, has been one of the Discovery Channel's most popular and depicts the crab fishing industry in the dangerous waters off Alaska.
"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," sons Josh and Jake Harris said in a statement released by the network. "For us and the crew, he was someone who never backed down."
In a statement, Discovery Channel senior vice president Elizabeth Hillman says, "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," she said.
In an e-mail to The Associated Press, she said no additional information was immediately available Tuesday night.
Harris had seemed to be improving, and in a posting last Saturday on the ship's Web site, he was described as "talking to friends and family today; showing his greatest progress" since the stroke.
His sons wrote in a Feb. 3 posting that "No one ever said Captain Phil Harris wasn't tough. Today, dad showed some good signs of improvement, squeezing our hands and even summoning his trademark Captain's bluntness ... We are encouraged but still very cautious."
According to the ship's Web site, Harris started working on fishing boats at age 7 and started work 10 years later on a crab boat. When Harris turned 21, he ran a fishing vessel out of Seattle, making him one of the youngest to captain a vessel in the Bering Sea.
When Harris suffered the stroke, the family said a friend, Derek Ray, had flown to St. Paul to take over the role of relief skipper for the rest of the opilio crab season.
Harris' fishing vessel was based in Seattle.
On The Net:
As with other avid viewers to deadliest catch, my fave captain was capt phil harris. and was shocked to learn of his passing, to me he was a hero and the captain of all captains in this field of dangerous work. I salute you Capt Phil, a genuine real person, whom I did not know but touched my heart. R I P Phil Harris.
Posted by Shelzzz - U K - Not related January 08, 2013
To me you was a fearless leader whom i think we all looked up to notonly from the show but in real life its hard to believe its been two years seems like yest erday im gone to always remember you god speed peace out
Posted by john van camp - Wellsburg, WV - Advid watcher March 28, 2012
Phil, I became a fan because of my dad. He watched every episode & sometimes more than once. He was very sad to watch your final episodes and see the tradgedy that ended your time here on earth. It moved him to tears. Sadly he passed almost 6 months to the day after you did. Now I will continue to watch to honor you & him as well but I will be watching with an extremely heavy heart. Sorry you are gone but many thanks for letting us into your life.
Posted by Bridget - Fan April 04, 2011
Captain Phil was my favorite captain, and is dearly missed. I was in shock when I first heard of his passing. It was hard for me to accept that this man was gone. When Discover ran the final season of his life, I mourned him all over again, just like the rest of the country.
Thank you Captain Phil for sharing your life with us. You are deeply missed by all who knew you, and all who knew of you.
Posted by Lisa Rook - Red Bluff, CA - Fan August 31, 2010
Thank you for letting us be a part of our your lives through television. You made us laugh with your antics.Cry with your pain. It was so nice to see man care so much for his sons. Phil done good :) God bless you and your family.You will be missed <3>
The Walsh family in NJ
Posted by K Walsh - DC viewer July 24, 2010
The Deadliest Catch Show will never be the same without Phil. He was a great fisherman as well as Father. My thoughts go out to his family. Rest in Peace Phil and I know you are watching all the other fishermen.
Posted by Sherry Mearis - Spokane, WA - fan July 23, 2010
I'am a true fan of such an awesome human being!!!
Posted by Christine Hover - Just a big fan!! July 17, 2010
I love "Deadliest Catch" I will dearly miss Captain Phil Harris. He was my favorite Captain.
Posted by susan phillips - admirer July 14, 2010
Fell in love with this show! He was a big part of it. My prayers and thoughts got out to all the family and friends! He was an incredible human, and obviously muched loved. Iam so sorry for your loss.
Posted by Tessa - Minneapolis, MN - avid watcher July 14, 2010
Phil was my favorite skipper right from the beginning. His tough no nonsense act was really a teddy bear in disguise. The show will not be the same and I hope Jake is taking care of himself and that both he and Josh will continue the fishing of the Cornelia Marie. R.I.P. Phil we loved you and we love your boys.
Posted by jane ryerson - bethel, ME - fan July 12, 2010
I FEEL AS THO I LOST A GOOD FRIEND.
HIS TV SHOW WAS THE BEST EVER.
JUST SHOWED HOW A MAN LOVED HIS KIDS.
WILL BE MISSED BY ALL
Posted by KENT EISERMANN - ELGIN, IL July 07, 2010
sadly missed by many, greatly missed by most I will miss seeing you and I cry still. God has a nw angel , an awesome one.
Posted by Lisa Ross - SUMTER, SC - BIGGEST FAN July 04, 2010
I will miss you Phil Harris I will never never ever forget you. My Tuesday nights will never be the same . I always wanted to meet you but didn't I do know we will one day,I didn't have to meet you to know you were a sweet preson and you Loved your boys,I know God will take good care of you.You are Loved . Love a Friend in Soul Lavon B
Posted by Lavon - Locust Grove, VA - Friend in Soul July 01, 2010
My heart goes out to Jake and Josh. I have been in your position before and nothing about it is easy. Captain Phil was one of my favorite captains on the show. He will be sorely missed.
Posted by Grace Bible - fan June 30, 2010
Will alway's remember Phil the show wont be the same..
Phil RIP and watch over all fishermen,go are missed..
Posted by DALLAS COOK - FAN June 17, 2010
I cannot believe you're gone, but I know that you are in a much better place with calmer waters.
Fare seas my friend. We are better for knowing you.
Posted by Roberta - friend and fan June 01, 2010
my deapest sympathies, phil was a great guy and my favorite on the show, he will be missed!
Posted by rochelle courtney May 10, 2010
to the family of phil, my prayers aare with you all, phil was my favorite capt and he will be miss dearly, his sense of humor and strength and the love for crabbing will continue in his sons, rest in peace phil
Posted by cathy - fan May 02, 2010
Deadliest Catch and the fishing industry is not something I ever thought I would watch but with the characters like Captain Phil, the Skipper and the family man, it makes you really care about these people. My most sincere condolences to his family, he will be terribly missed.
Posted by Sherry - Major Fan April 10, 2010
My husband & I wouldn't miss an episode of Deadliest Catch, and worried and feared for him as he suffered health problems. I recently lost my husband, Jim, this past Dec. and I am positive that when Jim heard your beloved Phil was called home, one of his biggest fans was one of the first to greet him! I only knew him from watching the show, but beleive I know enough about him from just that to say he was a great guy with a heart as big as the oceans he fished. He'll be dearly missed by his family, his freinds, and all the freinds he never even meet! My his family be blessed with love, support and guidence from the Holy! Our thoughts and prayers are with you!
Posted by Susan Smith March 04, 2010
Wish we could of had the chance to meet you Capt. Phil you will be very well missed, Josh and Jake keep your head up your dad will be there with you always watching over you. My uncle knows your brother Phil and we are very saddend by your passing. We love you RIP!!!! in you Ship in the Sky!!!!
Posted by Sheryl Lynn Hearn - My Uncle knows Phil's Brother March 04, 2010
MY HUSBAND AND I WATCHED PHIL HARRIS AND HIS BOYS ON DEADLIEST CATCH WE LOVED HIM HE WILL BE MISSED VERY MUCH SO WHAT GREAT A LOST WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU PHIL HARRIS YOUR FANS LAVON CHRIS BAIRD
Posted by Lavon - Fan March 03, 2010
I got to meet Capt Phil and the boys in Las Vegas and they were more than wonderful!
Posted by Gail Penny - Las Vegas, NV - DC fan February 27, 2010
i loved phil harris.he is the best captain on deadliest catch.this tragedy hurts my heart.he trained his sons very well.i will miss him very much.and to his family-his legacy im truly sorry for your loss.
Posted by ted thurson - fan of the show February 21, 2010
You will forever be missed.
My heart goes out to the family at this heart breaking time.
May your spirit fly at peace.
Posted by Tammy Crawford - NV February 21, 2010
Peace be with the family and friends of Cap. Phil Harris he will be very much missed
Posted by Jackie February 21, 2010
Phil was like a friend we cried when we heard the news of his death, he was a devoted father, and friend. We feel for his boys, you could tell he loved you with all his heart. We will miss him and may God comfort you and your family at this difficult time. He was one in a million and a very unique individual.
Posted by Kim and Les Barker - Monongahela, PA - viewer February 16, 2010
My heart goes out to Phil's sons and family. I was a huge fan of Phil's and The Deadliest Catch show. As many people have said, Phil and his sons were my favorite. Rest in peace dear Phil knowing you have two great sons to carry on for you!
Posted by Sandy - fan February 14, 2010
Im in total shock!!
Phil was really awesome!!!
My heart goes out to Josh, Jake and all his loved ones.
I wish you lots of strength and love to deal with this huge loss ...
Posted by Pascalle - The Netherlands - Deadliest Catch Fanatic February 14, 2010
I was sad to hear of his untimely passing. I pray for his sons that they will find the courage and wisdom to carry on his legacy. He will be greatly missed by all those that cared about him, even if we did only know him through a television series. The show will not be the same without him
Posted by C.A. Lehman - fan February 13, 2010
Captain Phil..What a unique man. Rough and tough on the outside, and a marshmallow on the inside. I remember an episode when Jake and Josh took your credit card and purchased a flat screen tv for the boat. You were outraged at first, but Jake started charming you with his humor and smile, and before long, you were laughing with them. Having grown up in a fishing family, and raising children of my own in a fishing family, I understand the strengths and weaknesses of a fisherman. You will be missed on many levels. Jake and Josh and other family members...I am so sorry for your loss.
Posted by Kim February 13, 2010
boarded your vessel and i thought to myself, what a man, wish i could have sailed with you. you may have tried to break me or not, as always you are THE SKIPPER, YOU LEAD. we follow. someday, i'll fish with you.
Posted by cpo bob baeten,uscg (ret) - st petersburg, FL - sailor,not foe February 13, 2010
Sorry for your loss, and my love goes out to you all.He was a Awesome man.
Posted by Monette McFadden - follower of the show/ fan February 12, 2010
Phil you will be missed so much by so many. To Jake and Josh..our hearts and prayers go out to you during this terrible time. I pray that you be comforted in knowing that your dad had a profound impact on so many lives and was loved world wide. We all feel this loss with you.
Posted by Kari Culton - fan February 12, 2010
Phil well be missed very much.When we look at the seas we well see Phil looking out over them protecting all that travel them. Josh and Jake be strong and be there for each other now more then ever.All your dad's fans will carry you in there hearts
Posted by Roberta Syme - Airway Heights, WA - FAN February 12, 2010
Phil was my favorite captain on Deadliest Catch. His crew loved him and Phil was a great father. The show will not be the same. You will be missed Capt. Phil!!!!
Posted by Tammy Benson - Fan February 12, 2010
God Bless you Captain Phil! We will miss you, but you will live on in our hearts. You were the best.
Posted by Jennifer February 12, 2010
jakeand josh know this is hard on you but please be strong for uour grandfatherhe must be devasted no parent expects to bury their chil we all think we'll go first as a mom iknow
Posted by donna - fan February 12, 2010
He bought a smile to face every time I watched the show...He will be deeply missed..
My heart is with his family and dear friends...May one day peace come in to your hearts to take the pain away, and fond memories of Phil never leave...
Posted by Joan - fan February 12, 2010
I will miss seeing Phil on Deadliest Catch. I have been a fan of the show for a number of years. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends on this sad loss of a great captain.
Posted by Paulette February 12, 2010
To the Harris Family,
I am so sadden to hear the news about your father. He was a good spirited man and a strong willed man. Please except our condolences. He will be dearly miss by us. He was an absolute joy to watch.
Posted by Nona - viewer February 11, 2010
my deepest sorrow to wife children and extended family. i enjoyed watching the show. he will sadly be missed. as a viewer of watching the catch wish all family well and good luck to the rest out at sea.
the chase family
Posted by john chase - biddiford, ME - tv show February 11, 2010
I was shocked to hear about the loss of this extraordinary man. I wish his family and friends lots of strenght and loving memories.
Posted by Nina van de Pol February 11, 2010
His heart always showed through those beautiful eyes. You will be dearly missed.
Posted by Connie - Amarillo, TX February 11, 2010
Our family was enthralled by Phil Harris and his devotion to his family and his calling. Phil appeared to be the quintessential "Real Man." Not without faults, sure. But we saw courage, committment and honor. He worked hard, enjoyed life and was a real father to his adult sons. How rare to see such an example today. We offer our most heartfelt prayers to a God who knows each of our hearts and still loves us each without limit. Peace and blessing to the Harris clan. Sail on, Phil!
Posted by Melissa Ruiz - Austin, TX - American February 11, 2010
Deadliest Catch was one of my favorite shows, Phil always struck me as quite a character and to have his 2 sons with him i thought was great. Phil you will be dearly missed.
Posted by Paul Gentile - Santa Fe - Fan February 11, 2010
We have watched Deadliest Catch since it's beginning. We love the show, and most of the Captains I always said if I could work for one of you it would have to be Phil. He is the fairest of all the Captains or so it seems and he reminds me of my late father. My husband said he would work for Sig because Phil remunded him of my Dad also. We feel a great lose but not nearly as much as Josh and Jake. Just always ask yourselves is this the way Dad would have done it or wanted it done? An always remember him and keep his memories in your life and hearts. God Bless You and the Memory of your Dad and his mullet!!!!!!!!!!1
Posted by Nancy and Mike - FANS February 11, 2010
I enjoyed watching the Deadliest Catch.
I felt like I was right there with everyone. (sea sick and all)
The Loss of your dear dad has saddened us.
The memories and love you both have will be your legacy tucked within your hearts forever. May god bless you and grant you peace at this very sorrowful time.
Please except our most deepest condolences.
Posted by Linda and Nick Korinis - Wantagh, NY - fan of the Deadiest Catch February 11, 2010
We were brought into your life aboard the Cornelia Marie each and every week. We felt like we were with you on every voyage and every journey. We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Capt. Phil but he is now on the greatest voyage ever. We have many fond memories that will remain with us forever.
Posted by Rich & Donna - Your most devoted fans. February 11, 2010
WILL MISS HIS NICE FACE AND LOVE FOR HIS SONS. LOVED HIM DEARLY. A NEW ENGLAND FAN.WITH DEEP SADNESS OVER HIS PASSING.
Posted by JOAN CIRIELLO - SALEM, NH - FAN February 11, 2010
I am so sorry for the passing of your father. He has meant so much to so many people. Thank you all for letting us be a part of your lives. Captain Phil will have a place in our hearts forever.
Posted by Pam Thomason - fan February 11, 2010
For Jake and Josh: Although I am a rabid Fan of Deadliest Catch, Your dad was ultimately a strong part of the show. His love of the sea, his job and mostly the love of you two was always evident. He will be truely missed. I hope you will cherish his memory, and carry on the tradition of the Harris Family. God Bless you !..
Posted by Rich Simon - Otego , NY - Big Fan February 11, 2010
My husband has taken phil's death very hard! We felt like he was apart of our family.. We will miss him very much..To his sons we wish you all the best in the days ahead..Your Dad was a very special person!!All our love and prayers will be with you every day for the rest of our time on this earth...
Posted by charlelne - el granada, CA - friend February 11, 2010
May your smile and laughter always be a memory that makes our hearts smile.
Posted by Michelle - Fan February 11, 2010
We've shared your life on the Cornelia Marie for 5 thrilling years. Things will never be the same on the show. I'm sure your boys will make you proud. RIP Phil.
Posted by J, M , and B - viewwer February 11, 2010
The Show will not be the same with out you
(Phil Harris) Rest in peace, You will be
sadly missed.May God be with You.
Doug Kelchner Sr.
Posted by Douglas M.Kelchner Sr. (Klondike) - Berwick, , PA February 11, 2010
Rest Well Captian Phil Harris.May Your New Fishing Grounds Be Bountiful and Deserving Of Your Presence Upon GOD's Heavenly Waters Just Beyond Our Site.May Your Family Look Your Direction,In Silence,For The Never Ending Guidence Your Memory Will Direct Them. Bless You,You Will Never Be Forgotten,But Always Looked Up To In Times Of Direction.Thanks Captian Phil Harris.
Posted by Norwood George February 11, 2010
Rest in Peace Captain Phil. Thank you for sharing your adventurous life with us on the Discovery Channel. Enjoyed watching you and your sons.
Posted by Donna February 11, 2010
I loved watching Phil with his boys on Deadliest catch. Phil, Jake, and Josh reminded me of my dad and 2 brothers. Phil really loved his 2 boys, and I know they loved him too. God bless you all and may you find peace in knowing you will always be together in spirit. Love you Phil! I will miss seeing you on TV.
Posted by Brandy Noponen - Painesville, OH - Fan of the show February 11, 2010
God bless Capt. Phil's family as they go through this very difficult time. Capt. Phil will be missed by so many.
Posted by Jenny February 11, 2010
condolences to Jake & josh Harris and the crew of Cornelia marie. Truly a Great man was taken. May time bid you a rapid recovery.
Posted by Dena - fan February 11, 2010
I was shocked 2 hear about Capt. Phil's passing...always love 2 watch the show...peace & love 2 the family...
Posted by Kimberly Lively February 11, 2010
Thank you for sharing your life and your family with us. We feel as if we are a part of your family that you just haven't met yet.
Rest in peace.
Posted by Laura - Viewer February 11, 2010
he was my favorite Captain and the only reason i watched...he will be greatly missed by our family and and my condolences to his boys...he will be loved forever.
Posted by jacquelyn mann - friends February 11, 2010
Very sad to hear about Phil,he will be greatly missed.GOD be with the boys..
Posted by Vicki & Jason Powell - Garden, MI February 10, 2010
I was shocked to hear this sad news.My condoleances to his family.God Bless
Posted by Tom Koorevaar - Fan of Deadliest Catch February 10, 2010
My thoughts and prayers to the family. I will miss seeing him on the show Deadliest Catch. I think it's a wonderful show, and he will be missed. God Bless
from and avid fan.
Posted by Susan Robinson - Long Beach, CA - Fan February 10, 2010
'Deadliest Catch' captain Phil Harris is pictured in this photograph. Harris died February 9th at the age of 53.