Captain Jake Anderson from Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch has had an alarming amount of personal tragedy unfold on camera. Most notably, the fisherman learned of his sister’s sudden death in the middle of filming Season 5, leading him to transfer boats in order to get home to his family.
Chelsea Dawn Anderson, who died unexpectedly on Feb. 13, 2009 due to complications from pneumonia, would’ve turned 49 this month. Jake recently paid tribute to his older sibling on the 11th anniversary of her passing.
The death of Chelsea Dawn Anderson remains one of the most emotional moments on 'Deadliest Catch'.
While working as a deckhand on the Northwestern in the midst of opilio crab season, Jake received word of his sister’s passing. She was 37 years old. According to Chelsea’s obituary, she had been diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when she was just 18 months and suffered from the effects for over three decades.
"Her body did not allow her to do all the things she wanted but it did not stop her from doing all that she could," the Washington native’s obit reads. "She loved to sing, write, take long drives, and chase tornadoes when she lived in Kansas. There was little in life that she feared."
The online eulogy continues, "All who were blessed to be a part of her life knew of the purity of her heart and the kindness she gave so freely. Her loved ones take comfort knowing that she is in heaven running, riding a bicycle, dancing, jumping, and free from a body that held her captive all of her life."
In a Facebook post, Jake went into greater detail about the struggles Chelsea endured. "Growing up she was looked at funny, and constantly taken advantage of. She didn’t care, she remained happy," he wrote in February.
"When she was about 34, the world couldn’t defeat her so it took her mind. Seizures, followed by abscesses on her body. She still laughed," he shared. "Drug addiction from pain meds... added to the mental degeneration, she became schizophrenic. She still laughed."
The 39-year-old added, "The strongest most beautiful person in the world died while kicking the world’s face in! Thanks for teaching me what strength truly is Chelsea."
Less than a year after his sister's death, Jake’s father vanished.
In Season 6, Jake once again received some devastating news aboard the Northwestern. A pickup truck belonging to his dad, Keith Anderson, had been found a little over two weeks after the 62-year-old disappeared on his way to meet an unidentified acquaintance, but the retired high school counselor was still missing.
Two-and-a-half years after Keith was last seen alive, his remains were discovered by a hiker in a remote area of Skagit County, Wash. — about a mile from where his vehicle had been abandoned.
Jake previously revealed that during those tough times, he leaned on his faith. "I’m a religious guy. I believe in God, and that’s always helped to get me through," he explained. "I keep following my heart and knowing that everything that happens is for a reason, and I keep plugging away."
New episodes of Deadliest Catch air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery Channel.