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‘Deadliest Catch’ captain Blake Painter found dead: Tragedy is latest in series of cast deaths

Blake Painter
Former Deadliest Catch captain Blake Painter died at home on Friday

The news that Deadliest Catch’s F/V Maverick captain Blake Painter was found dead in his Oregon home at the age of just 38 this past Friday has shocked longtime fans of the series.

The reports are inconclusive thus far on his cause of death, and authorities are awaiting autopsy and toxicology tests to understand what happened to Painter.

TMZ reported that painkillers were found in Painter’s residence. In 2016, Painter was involved in a serious car accident towing a gillnet boat in Astoria, Oregon.

He was previously on seasons two and three of Deadliest Catch and quit the series by season three.

On now for 14 seasons and since 2005, Deadliest Catch chronicles the lives of those who fish the Bering Sea, considered one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.

In 2017, the crew of the fishing vessel Destination went missing in its perilous waters, and Captain Sig Hansen and all the cast of Deadliest Catch mourned their loss.

Painter’s sudden death has us reminiscing about those familiar faces who died while the show has been on the air:

2015 – Tony Lara

Tony Lara
Lara passed away a few years ago from a heart attack

Tony Lara died at age 50 from a heart attack in Sturgis, S.D., after attending the annual motorcycle rally. Lara served as the captain of the ship Cornelia Marie after Harris’ death, stepping in to help Harris’s two sons  learn the ropes and take over the vessel.

In a tribute, Discovery said: “Tony Lara brought friendship, a steady hand and rock-solid support to all those that knew him and always will be part of the Deadliest Catch family. From everyone at Discovery, our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

2010 – F/V Cornelia Marie Captain Phil Harris

Jake harris, Phil Harris, Josh Harris
The Harris clan in happier days — Jake, Phil and Josh

Considered a lion of the show, Captain Phil Harris was a larger than life character and a beloved cast member whose death served as a shock to the entire fan community and Harris family.

He had a massive stroke while bringing in Opilio crab to port at Saint Paul Island, Alaska, on January 29, 2010. Harris died in hospital on February 9, 2010, at 53 years old, suffering a pulmonary embolism. His sons Jake and Joshua are still part of the show.

Josh spoke to Monsters and Critics about his dad and taking over the reins for the Cornelia Marie. On thinking of his dad Phil, he said: “I think of my dad every single day – the things he said always replay in my mind and even the crew remembers him and what he said, too. He was the greatest.”

Of note, the Harris family suffered another loss in 2016. Josh’s grandfather, Capt. Grant Harris, passed away in December 2016. Josh’s younger brother Jake Harris was brutally beaten in November of 2016.

The latest episode of Deadliest Catch sees the F/V Northwestern land a bumper haul of crab. You can watch our exclusive clip from the episode here.


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