Everybody who has watched the Wicked Tuna show on National Geographic is familiar with the Pinwheel and its fishermen. Nicholas Fudge a.k.a Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing vessel, Pinwheel. On July 19th, 2018, the beloved fisherman passed away suddenly at the tender age of twenty-eight. The cause of his death was not made open to the public. So, what happened to Duffy on the Wicked Tuna?
Wicked Tuna is a reality show that focuses on fishers for those who are not familiar with the show. It is a television show that shows the lives of Tuna fishers based in Massachusetts as they hunt for fish in the North Atlantic Ocean.
What happened to Duffy fudge on Wicked Tuna?
Reality TV shows are known to make fans fall in love with the stars. It is common for fans to get to know the celebs as real people as they go along with them in their adventures. Therefore, when one of them dies mysteriously, the loss is felt deeply. The death of Duffy left all his fans shaken and in grief. Of course, fans wanted to know what happened to their favourite fisherman.
Who is Duffy?
Nicholas Fudge was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts. He grew up in Greenland, New Hampshire. He went to Portsmouth high school, where he was very active in extra-curricular activities. His father and grandfather nurtured his passion for fishing at an early age.
After he graduated from Portsmouth in 2008, Duffy started working for a boat construction firm. He spent years in the fishing industry and became one of the top sport fishermen in the country after a while. His experience and skill landed him his spot on the Wicked Tuna crew. He even appeared on the spin-off “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” launched in 2014.
How did Duffy from Wicked Tuna die?
This is a question that reverberated worldwide after the news of Fudge’s demise was made public. Although the cause of death was not officially released, several reports claim that Duffy died of decompression sickness. Decompression sickness, also known as barotraumas or “the bends” is a sickness that results from an abrupt decrease in pressure around the body.
This can happen whether you're in the air or water. It is, however, most commonly observed among deep-sea divers. However, it can happen to anyone exposed to compressed air environments such as tunnel workers. Common symptoms of the illness include headaches, extreme fatigue, dizziness, weakness in the limbs, numbness, and shortness of breath.
When diving, the tissues in your body absorb a lot of oxygen and nitrogen. While the body uses the oxygen, the nitrogen is dissolved into the bloodstream but remains there. As you get back to the surface, the water pressure around your body goes down. During this transition, it is important to take your time so that the nitrogen gets enough time to clear.
If the transition is too fast, the nitrogen will not clear but instead form bubbles in your blood and tissues. These bubbles cause decompression sickness, which Duffy, unfortunately, succumbed to.
Was Duffy from Wicked Tuna on drugs?
After Duffy from Wicked Tuna death, a lot of rumors swirled about what the cause was. One of these rumors was that the reality star struggled with a drug addiction issue before his untimely death. The rampant speculation plus several drug-related arrests seemed to prove to fans that this is true.
A few months before the tragedy occurred, Fudge was placed under arrest for driving while drunk on March 28th, 2018. The charges alleged that he was driving while intoxicated and after suspension. It also states that he resisted arrest and had an open container of alcohol with him in the vehicle, which crossed a solid line. The charges were dismissed due to a lack of prosecution.
Apart from the DUI, Fudge was also arrested for dealing/ possessing prescription drugs. For this charge, he was sentenced to probation for two years and had his license suspended. Fudge was found dead two weeks after this sentencing. Although there is no definite proof that the fisherman died due to his substance abuse, it is clear that it was something he struggled with.
After his death, some of Duffy’s fans felt that the show didn't shed enough light on his substance abuse issues, which they felt was a perfect opportunity to spread awareness of the issue. Although one of its cast members suffered from addiction, the show glossed over the issue. Fans were not thrilled by this blatant dismissal of his struggles.
Who replaced Duffy on Wicked Tuna?
After several successful seasons, Duffy passed away just before the filming for season 8 commenced. The tragedy is something that reality shows repeatedly deal with, and it is impossible to plan for. The National Geographic Channel decided to continue the series without the star who was such a big part of it. This, of course, raised a lot of issues, the biggest one being who would replace Duffy.
Duffy was a fan favorite, and anyone who was looking to fill his shoes had an impossible task ahead of them. Since Duffy was Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s best friend and first mate, it seemed right that he would be the one to pick Duffy’s replacement.
He chose his sister Marissa to be his new first mate in season 8 of Wicked Tuna. She had the right qualifications and was qualified to take on the job after Duffy’s last episode on Wicked Tuna. She had the experience and even had a captain’s license. In the season 8 premiere, Tyler revealed that she could navigate, drive a boat, read radar and take care of the boat.
The producers acknowledged the passing of the star when they aired all the best moments they had with Tyler. This also served as a sign of their appreciation for the roles he had played in both the show and the spin-off he was part of. Tyler dedicated the first catch of the season to his late best friend, and the other captains talked about how tough it was to lose Duffy.
What happened to Duffy on the Wicked Tuna? Nicholas Fudge, popularly known as Duffy to his fans, passed away in June 2018 due to decompression sickness. He left behind his parents and his sister.
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