The Tragic Death Of Phil Harris From The Deadliest Catch

Fans of the Discovery Channel's reality series Deadliest Catch are no stranger to tragedy. Between the deaths of a half-dozen cast members over the years, unfortunate events have struck the fan base time and time again. The first tragedy occurred in 2010, when Deadliest Catch star Captain Phil Harris of the boat Cornelia Marie succumbed to complications from a stroke, captured on camera during Season 6 as he was offloading crab at St. Paul Island, Alaska. He passed away after nine days in the hospital, according to Heavy.com.

The first of five episodes of Season 6 that dealt with Harris's stroke and its aftermath drew 5.2 million viewers, a record-setting number for the reality show, according to The New York Times. After the stroke, Harris was placed in an induced coma, only later to wake from the coma as his condition improved. Later, however, the reality star died from an intracranial hemorrhage, as Heavy reports.

On July 13, 2010, the episode "Redemption Day", which dealt with the death of Harris during its final moments, set another record audience for the show, with 8.5 million viewers, making the episode the third-most-viewed broadcast in the channel's history. "Most of the fans know what the unfortunate ending is," Clark Bunting, the president and general manager of Discovery, told The New York Times. "I think this is a collective opportunity for people to express their condolences."

Another death strikes the reality show cast

Nearly one year after Harris's passing, Time Bandit deckhand Justin Tennison passed away at the young age of 33 in an Alaska hotel room. While the official cause of death was complications from sleep apnea, police found beer, hard liquor and a small amount of marijuana in his hotel room when his body was discovered.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that according to one of Tennison's relatives, Eddie Uwekoolani, Tennison was a family man who cherished his kids and loved the wild life at sea as a fisherman. Uwekoolani also hinted that the cameras and attention associated with stardom on Deadliest Catch might have played a role in Tennison's untimely death. "We've had a rough year," he said. "Phil Harris died. The boys [have] been having some trouble, the Cornelia boys. ... I don't know if we're all getting too relaxed or enjoying the movie part, but ... everybody is watching their health now," he told the publication.