Feb. 24, 2011 — -- The untimely death of 33-year-old Justin Tennison Monday dealt another blow to the cast of the reality show "Deadliest Catch."
Tennison's body was found Tuesday afternoon in the Best Western Bidarka Inn in Homer, Alaska, police said. The father of two worked on the Time Bandit ship, fishing for king crab, and was set to make his first appearance on "Deadliest Catch" in April.
The death comes a little more than a year after Phil Harris, captain of Cornelia Marie, suffered a stroke onboard and died later, making some wonder if the reality documentary, in its sixth season, is cursed.
"Deadliest Catch" chronicles the real-life perils of Alaskan king crab fishing in the dangerous waters of the Bering Sea, but appearing on the show may have turned into its own danger.
"We've had a rough year. Phil Harris died. The boys been having some trouble, the Cornelia boys. … I don't know if we're all getting too relaxed or enjoying the movie part, but ... everybody is watching their health now," said cast member Eddie Uwekoolani.
Uwekoolani is also Tennison's second cousin. He helped get Tennison hired on the ship, first as an engineer and later as a deckhand.
Over the weekend, the crew of Time Bandit returned to Homer, Alaska, from a season of fishing.
Many of the men rented hotel rooms in Homer for their first few nights back on land, Uwekoolani said.
Uwekoolani last saw his cousin Monday night.
"That evening, he came down to the boat about 10 o'clock, and I had one drink with him and took off to my house with my grandson and son, and next morning called to find out if he was coming to work. I never got a hold of him. I texted him. I just thought he didn't make it to work," Uwekoolani said.
On Tuesday afternoon, a concerned crew member stopped by the hotel.
"The manager said they found Justin nonresponsive on the bed, not breathing, so she called the cops and they came down," Uwekoolani said.
Police found beer, hard liquor and a small amount of marijuana in the hotel room, Homer police Lt. Randy Rosencrans told The Associated Press. An autopsy is currently under way to determine Tennison's cause of death.
'Deadliest Catch' Cast Member Found Dead
Staff from the hotel would not comment on what may have happened in the room Monday night.
The captain and crew of the Time Bandit posted a message on their website.
"Justin was tough as a bull and was an all-around good hand. ... We will miss him terribly and wish his family all the best during this most difficult time," the crew members said in a statement.
Uwekoolani said that the crew members, because of the danger of their jobs, often shared their last wishes.
"We've talked about ... how living in a high-risk job you never know. His last wishes were to be cremated and taken out to the water for one long trip," Uwekoolani said. "He loved Alaska. He loved hunting and fishing and everything about it. He loved his kids tremendously."