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The Tragic Death Of Duffy From Wicked Tuna

With Season 10 of "Wicked Tuna" underway, fans will doubtless be reminded of the tragic loss of one of its former stars — Nicholas Fudge. Better known as 'Duffy', the TV fisherman died in 2018, just days short of his 29th birthday. His untimely death was first announced by The Remick & Gendron Funeral Home on July 19 of that year, with an official statement on "Wicked Tuna"s social media channels confirming the devastating news on July 23. The cause of the sportsman's "unexpected" death was not detailed at the time, though, as reported by Distractify, anecdotal accounts from fellow fisherman in the area suggested he died as a result of decompression sickness.

Also known as 'the bends', decompression sickness is a perilously common affliction in scuba and deep-sea divers. As outlined by Harvard Health, the condition is "caused by a rapid decrease in the pressure that surrounds you"; this happens when the diver resurfaces too quickly and causes nitrogen bubbles to form in the blood, leading to symptoms from dizziness and joint pain to — in dire cases like Duffy's — death. Fudge left behind a loving family — parents Ronald Jr. and Judy Fudge, brother Cody, and girlfriend Ali Currier. Winning a spot on the "Wicked Tuna" crew as a result of his fierce fishing talent, he was one of the most accomplished sportsmen in his field.

Remembering Nicholas "Duffy" Fudge

"Wicked Tuna" fans knew Duffy as the laid back but super skilled first mate of "Pinwheel," Captain Tyler McLaughlin's trusty vessel. Scouring the depths off the coast of Massachusetts for the coveted and costly Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, he also featured in the spin-off series "Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks". His infectious love for the great outdoors and profound respect for the environment made him a firm favorite among viewers of the National Geographic series.

Duffy is remembered by his family for "his smile, his fearlessness, his adventurous spirit, his mischievous sense of humor, and giving big hugs." His obituary continues, "his presence could light up any room" — and with a defiant humor in the face of grief, suggests that in the next life, "Nick now begins his next adventure to locate his missing cell phones, ID's, and credit cards."

As reported by The Sun, the "Wicked Tuna" crew has persisted in spite of its members' grief in the three years since Fudge's death. "We just persevered. We just caught a fish on the spot where Duffy and I caught our last fish together," said friend and Captain McLaughlin. "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," he insisted, honoring his former crew-mate through a continued commitment to the work he loved.