Addiction has touched the cast of Wicked Tuna, yet the show continues to gloss over the issue. Fans aren't thrilled about it, especially after the show recently honored the death of star Nicolas "Duffy" Fudge.
Fudge's death has been a topic of conversation on several episodes, as his boatmates try to forge on without him. Wicked Tuna hasn't, however, addressed the 28-year-old's suspected substance abuse issues, which some fans feel is "a missed opportunity." One Twitter user slammed the show for not discussing addiction, and the subsequent consequences, noting that his family might appreciate the opportunity to spread awareness and potentially spare another life.
While it was initially reported that the 28-year-old Discovery Channel personality died from decompression sickness, or "the bends," rumors have swirled about his apparent wild final days. As a result of the rampant speculation, coupled with several drinking and drug-related arrests, some Wicked Tuna fans fear he was battling an addiction issue before his unexpected death.
Five months before Fudge died, he was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The case was still under investigation when Fudge died. PEOPLE reported that the Portsmouth police log indicated that Fudge's charges included disobeying a police officer, driving while intoxicated and after suspension and resisting arrest. Seacoast Online reported that he had "an open container of alcohol" in the vehicle at the time.
He had previously been arrested for driving under the influence and for "dealing/possessing prescription drugs," Radar Online reported.
Roughly two weeks after a hearing related to the charges, during which he was sentenced to probation and had his license suspended, Fudge was found dead. A cause of death was not revealed. His obituary simply stated that he died "unexpectedly" on July 19. The obituary touted his passion for the outdoors.
"As a child, Nick began tuna fishing with his father and grandfather. 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. Nick also treasured the environment and he took seriously his responsibility to protect it," the obituary read.
The show continued on without him, and discussed him and his passing several times. No more information about his death has been revealed, however.
"Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin's fishing vessel, Pinwheel," the statement continued. "We join his family and friends in mourning his untimely loss."