How Did ‘Deadliest Catch’ Crew Member Zac McFarlane Die? It Didn’t Happen at Sea

The Season 15 premiere of Deadliest Catch, which aired on April 9, began on a rather somber note. The Discovery Channel series paid tribute to three fishermen who were killed in January when their commercial crabbing boat capsized. 

The episode was also dedicated to the memory of Zac McFarlane, a former crew member who worked on the show as director of photography, camera operator, and producer from its debut in 2005 to 2010.

How did Zac McFarlane die?

According to a tweet that was supposedly written by an old friend of Zac’s, the experienced documentarian passed away from pancreatic cancer on March 10. He was 49-years-old.

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Source: Twitter

“I would like to thank everyone who responded to this,” the Twitter user, who writes under the handle @BossyLadySunday, tweeted shortly after his death. “I posted about Zac because I’m stunned that he’s gone. Didn’t even think about anyone responding. Thank you all for the support. Zac worked on a lot of TV shows like Deadliest Catch and was nominated for Emmys.”

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Zac wasn’t just a cinematographer.

The talented crew member directed episodes of Discovery Channel’s Sons of Guns and Alaskan Bush People in 2011 and 2014, respectively. He also worked as a technical supervisor for the majority of Ax Men, a show about the logging industry that aired on History from 2008 to 2016.

According to singer-songwriter Vinnie James, Zac even served as inspiration for his tune “Always a Rebel,” which has been used on Deadliest Catch

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“The ‘wavin’ my fist’ line in the song is written for (and about) Zac McFarlane, [Director] of Photography on the Deadliest Catch,” Vinnie previously revealed. “I was in the process of writing the song and one night, Josh Harris (from the Cornelia Marie), and Zac came into the lobby of the Grand Aleutian Hotel, where I was staying during my time in Dutch Harbor last season.”

Our thoughts are with Zac’s family as they continue to mourn this devastating loss. Watch new episodes of Deadliest Catch Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery Channel.

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