UPDATE (2/9/10): Discovery announces that Captain Phil Harris of Deadliest Catch has died

Phil Harris, captain of the crab fishing boat the Cornelia Marie, underwent surgery Saturday night as a result of the stroke he suffered last Friday while in port off-loading at St. Paul Island in Alaska. The Discovery Channel, which has documented the Cornelia Marie’s adventures on the Bering Seafor five seasons on the Emmy-winning series Deadliest Catch, has issued the following statement on behalf of Phil’s sons, Josh and Jake, who are with him. “Josh and Jake Harris thank everyone for their heartfelt thought and prayers. The Deadliest Catch community has always been more like family than just fans, and Discovery Channel joins the Harris boys in thanking everyone for their wishes of support. Captain Phil is resting comfortably and is in the care of excellent doctors and nurses. We will update everyone on his progress as best we can.”

An update on the Cornelia Marie‘s website says it may be some time before fans know anything substantial about Phil’s condition. A family friend, Derek Ray, has taken over the role of skipper for the remainder of the Opilio crab season. In 2008, a blood clot that traveled up his leg and into his lungs took Phil out of his chair. Discovery’s cameras filmed him in the hospital and on his triumphant but tense return.