Nicholas “Duffy” Fudge, a star of the National Geographic Channel series Wicked Tuna and its spinoff, Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks, has died at 28, the network confirmed on social media this weekend.
Fudge was first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing boat, Pinwheel, and had been on Wicked Tuna since 2013. “We join Duffy’s family and friends in mourning his untimely loss,” the network read.
According to , no cause of death has been noted, but his noted he died “unexpectedly” on July 19. “His presence could light up any room and he had a heart of gold,” his obituary reads. “He was known for his smile, his fearlessness, his adventurous spirit, his mischievous sense of humor, and giving big hugs.”
His family and loved ones will hold a memorial service Wednesday, and visitors are asked to dress “Duffy style” and donate to a memorial fund dedicated to environmental preservation.
McLaughlin issued a statement calling Fudge “a great friend and a talented fisherman,” the reported. “Together, we had some epic moments at sea, and the Pinwheel won’t be the same without him,” he said in the statement. “Out of respect for Duffy’s family, we ask for privacy at this time as we continue to process this tragic event.”
Wicked Tuna held a moment of silence during Sunday night’s episode as a tribute to Duffy’s memory.