‘Deadliest Catch’ star Justin Tennison dead at 34

Just over a year after Deadliest Catch‘s Captain Phil Harris succumbed to a stroke at the age of 53, crew member Justin Tennison has been found dead in an Alaska motel room.

Tennison, 34, worked as an engineer and deckhand on the Time Bandit. The vessel’s captains, Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, confirmed on their site that Tennison had died in his sleep sometime between last night and early today. The statement began:

It is with great sadness that the Time Bandit family announces the death of crew member Justin Tennison. Justin died peacefully in his sleep the night of February 21, 2011.

They describe Tennison as “tough as a bull and was an all-around good hand,” and describe his life as a long-term fisherman:

Justin fished commercially for many years, living in Alaska for 28 years. He worked on the Time Bandit, alongside his second cousin, Eddie Uwekoolani, Jr., serving as Engineer during the tendering seasons, and joined the Time Bandit crew as a deckhand fishing the Red King 2010 and Opilio 2011 seasons.

Tennison is survived by two children, his father, a sister and grandparents. No official determination as to cause of death has been made.