NICHOLAS Fudge, also known as Duffy on Wicked Tuna, passed away three years ago.
Wicked Tuna, on National Geographic, follows McLaughlin’s boats as they fish for blue-fin tuna off the coasts of Massachusetts.
Nicholas ‘Duffy’ Fudge of Wicked TunaCredit: Twitter/@WickedTuna
What happened to Duffy on Wicked Tuna?
Duffy’s cause of death wasn’t announced at the time of his passing, but fans were shocked to learn that he died so suddenly.
His colleagues inferred that may have succumbed to ‘the bends’ or decompression sickness.
Decompression sickness, also called generalized barotrauma, “refers to injuries caused by a rapid decrease in the pressure that surrounds you, of either air or water,” according to Harvard Health.
Although it most commonly affects deep-sea divers and scuba divers, it also can occur during high-altitude or unpressurized air travel.
It is suspected Duffy passed away from complications caused by decompression sicknessCredit: National Geographic
The condition is called the bends because the joint and bone pains can be so severe they double you over.
“During a dive, the body tissues absorb nitrogen from the breathing gas in proportion to the surrounding pressure,” writes the Diversalertnetwork.org.
“As long as the diver remains at pressure, the gas presents no problem. If the pressure is reduced too quickly, however, the nitrogen comes out of solution and forms bubbles in the tissues and bloodstream,” the site reads.
When did Duffy pass away?
The star passed away on July 19, 2018, just a few weeks before his 29th birthday.
Duffy worked alongside his good friend Tyler McLaughlin on his boat the Pinwheel. According to his obituary, he found his love for tuna fishing as a child.
Wicked Tuna airs on National GeographicCredit: National Geographic
“After becoming one of the top sport fishermen in the country, he earned a place on the National Geographic reality show Wicked Tuna for multiple seasons,” the tribute read.
“Nick also treasured the environment and he took seriously his responsibility to protect it.”
Who replaced Duffy as Tyler McLaughlin’s first mate?
Duffy died a few days before the crews started filming season eight of Wicked Tuna.
Captain Tyler McLaughlin decided to continue on with the show without his first mate and best friend.
He selected his sister, Marissa McLaughlin, to fill Duffy’s position.
“I’m afraid I might burn out this season, so I’m relying on Marissa to be a solid first mate,” Tyler said in a National Geographic clip.
“She’s got a lot to learn, but she’s got her captain’s license. She can navigate. She can read a radar. She knows how to drive the boat. She can run it when we’re fighting fish. I mean, she’s more than qualified.”
Subsequently, Tyler dedicated his first catch of the season to his late best friend,
“We just persevered. We just caught a fish on the spot where Duffy and I caught our last fish together,” Tyler said.
“I don’t care if we get $2 a pound, $25 or $30 a pound. I’m just so happy to have this fish. It means so much to us.”
Following the season debut episode, National Geographic put together a compilation of clips of Duffy and Tyler fishing together to honor his memory.
Season ten of Wicked Tuna premieres Friday, March 5 at 9pm EST on National Geographic.