Tony Lara died of a heart attack during a motorcycle rally in South Dakota on Saturday, authorities have confirmed. The “Deadliest Catch” star died in his sleep at a private home at the age of 50, according to TMZ.
Lara was the captain of the Cornelia Marie, featured on the Discovery Channel “Deadliest Catch” skiers. Tony worked on the boat for 10 years in the 1990’s and was a close friend of Phil Harris, the former captain of the vessel who died in 2010.
“We’ve lost a member of the ‘Deadliest Catch’ family,” the Discovery Channel said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this very sad time.”
Tony Lara’s heart attack has shocked the crew that worked for him on the Cornelia Marie. A post on the Discovery website describes the captain as a veteran crab catcher.
The captain of the fishing vessel was found dead at 7:47 a.m. Saturday after authorities were called to the home. He was pronounced dead, and a preliminary autopsy revealed the cause of death was a heart attack.
“Tony was to all of us with the Cornelia Marie a true friend,” Josh Harris, who worked on the fishing vessel, said. “Tony was always there for the Harris Family. 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.”
The TV show airs on The Discovery Channel and follows the trials of a handful of crabbing ship captains, including Lara, who brave icy waters and dangerous conditions to bring in a profitable load of seafood.
Lara was also described as a hard-working fisherman by friend Keith Colburn. Tony appeared to be in good health, showing no symptoms that he was ill.
“It came as an absolute shock that he had passed away,” Colburn said. “I know Tony had some heart problems a couple of years back, but he didn’t really talk about it much. Tony was a friend for 20 years and my deepest thoughts go out to his family.”
Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin said that a pathologist noticed that Lara’s heart had scar tissue that was consistent with a heart attack. While Merwin said that there were no signs of drugs or alcohol playing a role in Tony’s death, toxicology results have not come back yet.
Tony Lara’s heart attack is still spreading on social media about the Alaska native. Colburn, who had been friends with the captain for 20 years, said he was “a really good guy all around, and he had wonderful character.”
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