Nicholas ‘Duffy’ Fudge, star of ‘Wicked Tuna,’ dead at 28

Nicholas S. “Duffy” Fudge, a cast member on National Geographic Channel’s reality series about commercial tuna fisherman called “Wicked Tuna,” died last week at age 28.

National Geographic confirmed Fudge’s death on July 23 in statement saying the network and Pilgrim Studios, which produces the show, were “saddened” to learn of his passing.

“Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing vessel, Pinwheel. We join his family and friends in mourning his untimely loss,” the statement said.

Fudge died “unexpectedly” on July 19, 2018, according to an obituary posted on the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home website. No cause of death was announced.

Fudge appeared on both ‘Wicked Tuna” and the show’s spin-off, “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.”

Fudge’s obituary says he had a passion for the outdoors and began fishing as a child with his father and grandfather. He loved to fish, play hockey, play lacrosse, ski, snowboard and surf, according to the obituary.

“Nick also treasured the environment and he took seriously his responsibility to protect it,” the obituary says. “He was known for his smile, his fearlessness, his adventurous spirit, his mischievous sense of humor, and giving big hugs.”

Fudge’s family has asked that donations be made to a memorial fund, with proceeds benefiting environmental preservation.

The obituary also noted his positive personality.

“Someone once said, ‘Nick was always the coolest kid, but he had a way of making you feel like you were just as cool,’” according to the obituary. “His presence could light up any room and he had a heart of gold. He was known for his smile, his fearlessness, his adventurous spirit, his mischievous sense of humor, and giving big hugs.”

Kimberley Haas, a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, tweeted this week that police are still investigating the death. She says she spoke with local fishermen who suspect he may have died from “the bends.”

In a story, Haas reported that Greenland police and emergency personnel responded to a call around 6 p.m. Thursday and found Fudge not breathing.

“CPR was in progress and continued during his transportation to the Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead,” police said in a news release, Haas reported for the Union Leader.

After news spread of Fudge’s death, fans of the show began posting tributes to him on the obituary website.

“I was a huge fan of Duffy and Tyler,” one fan wrote. “Loved the friendship they had for each other. Duffy will be missed. I’m sure I will shed lots of tears next season without him on the show. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. RIP sweet soul.”

Another fan wrote simply: “Fly high, fish on.”

Written by Sandra Gonzalez for CNN with additional reporting by Simplemost staff.

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