Captain Phil Harris left a mark on TV viewers as one of the featured crabbers on Deadliest Catch. And now, his friendly rivals on the Bering Sea are speaking out in the wake of Harris' death at 53.
Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, cocaptains of the Time Bandit, paid tribute on their Facebook page: "We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to the family, especially his sons Josh and Jake. We all share in this tremendous loss. May God bless you and keep you, Phil, you will certainly be missed."
Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern, transformed his homepage into a salute to his fellow sea dog, noting, "Phil Harris was called home and will forever be remembered..." and including links to videos and photos.
And there were even more heartfelt farewells to the cantankerous captain...
"RIP Captain Phil Harris..my condolences to his family and the crew of the Cornelia Marie," tweeted pro-skater and reality TV star Rob Dyrdek.
"It is with tremendous sadness that I say goodbye to Phil Harris," wrote 20-year business partner—and Harris' ship namesake—Cornelia Marie Devlin. "We have been through a lot of ups and downs together with the F/V Cornelia Marie. As a skipper, he was a great fisherman. He loved his family and cared for his crew. We will all miss him."
In announcing their father's death last night, sons (and deckhands) Josh and Jake issued the following statement: "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. We will remember and celebrate that strength. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers."
According to his wife, Captain Keith Coburn of The Wizard, one of Deadliest Catch's other primary vessels, was at sea and couldn't immediately be reached.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Capt. Phil's family.