By Mike Miller
July 23, 2018 at 07:49 PM EDT

Nicholas “Duffy” Fudge, one of the fishermen featured on the National Geographic Channel’s reality show Wicked Tuna, has died. He was 28.

The popular series announced the news via social media Sunday.

“National Geographic and Pilgrim Media Group were saddened to learn that Wicked Tuna cast member Nicholas ‘Duffy’ Fudge passed away this week,” read a statement on the show’s official Facebook page.

“Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing vessel, Pinwheel, and has appeared on both Wicked Tuna and our spinoff series Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks,” the statement continued. “We join Duffy’s family and friends in mourning his untimely loss.”

The series later thanked fans for their outpouring of support, writing on Facebook, “Thank you to everyone who has commented their condolences. We’re sure Duffy’s family and friends will take solace in knowing that he had so many wonderful fans who cared so deeply for him. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts.”

Fudge “passed away unexpectedly” on Thursday, July 19, according to his obituary on the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home website.

“His passions were fishing and the outdoors. As a child, Nick began tuna fishing with his father and grandfather,” reads the obituary.

“After becoming one of the top sport fishermen in the country, he earned a place on the National Geographic reality show Wicked Tuna for multiple seasons,” the obituary continues. “Nick also treasured the environment and he took seriously his responsibility to protect it.”

Fudge would have turned 29 on Aug. 1.