Tony Lara, who appeared on Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” in 2011, has died, according to law enforcement in South Dakota and the show’s Facebook page. He was 50.
Lara died while in Sturgis, South Dakota, for the famed motorcycle rally that takes over the city each August, according to Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin.
No cause of death was immediately available. An autopsy was to be performed Tuesday, Merwin said.
Lara captained the F/V Cornelia Marie following the death of Captain Phil Harris, who also appeared on the show. He appeared in six episodes of the reality series, which follows fishing crews working the inhospitable Bering Sea southwest of Alaska.
“May you RIP Captain Tony Lara,” the show’s Facebook page posted Sunday. “We know that you are up in heaven watching over the Cornelia Marie and rest of the Bering Sea fleet.”
The Cornelia Marie’s current captain, Phil Harris’ son Josh Harris, called Lara “a true friend.”
“Tony was always there for the Harris Family,” he said in a statement provided by the show’s publicist. “He offered his support and his advice. He taught and he educated. At the end of the day, Tony made all of us just a little bit better.”
In a statement on the Cornelia Marie’s website, the crew praised Lara’s willingness to help.
“No conversation was cut short. No call unreturned. When the Cornelia Marie needed him, he was quick to respond with a “When and Where,” the unsigned statement on the site says.
Fellow “Deadliest Catch” Captain Keith Colburn took to Twitter to post his condolences.
“Top notch chief, great capt.,& even better friend,” he said.
Facebook user Tony Harrell posted to the ship’s Facebook page lamenting the loss of “another great sea captain.”
“May your find your way to the heavens,” he wrote.”RIP.”