'Deadliest Catch' Star Keith Colburn Temporarily Leaves Series Due to Health Concern

Deadliest Catch's Captain Keith Colburn is leaving the Wizard for the latest season of the show due to a nasty infection in his back.

Colburn revealed on the June 5 episode that he had been diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a bacterial infection in his spine. He told the rest of his crew it looked like somebody had doused two of his vertebrae "in battery acid."

"My back is all f—ed up," Colburn said in a team meeting on the deck of the ship. "I'm not going fishing."

Treatment for the infection requires intravenous injections on a daily basis, something that can't be done while out on the ocean. Colburn revealed his brother Monte Colburn would be taking over as captain for the crew's next voyage.

"I'm leaving the boat in your hands," Colburn said "That's it, okay? You deal with.. all the s—, the whole f—ing shebang. You know what to do."

The Wizard's next trip on the show is to fish for more than 77 tons of bairdi crab in just one week. Monte said later in the episode that leading the team to hit that target will be incredibly challenging.

"You know, my brother's health, critical as it is, it's not something I'm really in the position to even think about, because these guys are counting on me to go out and fill those tanks with crab," Monte said. "And it ain't going to be easy."

Colburn has been a staple of the show's captain roster, which current includes the likes of Time Bandit's Jonathan Hillstrand and Andy Hillstrand and Northwestern's Sig Hansen. Other ships being followed on the current season include Brenna A, captained by Sean Dwyer, Josh Harris and Casey McManus and the Cornelia Marie crew, Saga led by Jake Anderson and Summer Bay captained by "Wild Bill" Wichrowski.

While the job itself presents plenty of danger, Deadliest Catch is no stranger to having cast members suffer medical issues when on dry land. Colburn himself suffered a heart attack in a previous season, but managed to make a recover.

Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie died at the age of 53 after suffering a stroke while filming Season 6 back in 2010, and cast member Blake Painter died of a drug overdose back in May at the age of 38.


The season final of Deadliest Catch Season 14, titled Blackout, will air at 9 p.m on Tuesday on the Discovery Channel.