'Deadliest Catch' deckhand Mahlon Reyes died of accidental cocaine overdose, coroner says

Mahlon Reyes, 38, a popular deckhand on Discovery Channel's reality show "Deadliest Catch," died in July from what officials now say was a cocaine overdose.

Over the summer, his wife, Heather Sullivan, posted on a memorial Facebook page that Reyes had suffered a heart attack July 26 in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana, and had been transferred to the intensive care unit.

“Mahlon never woke up there was too much time without oxygen, causing irreversible brain damage,” she wrote on July 31. “On Sunday night our family together made the hardest choice we've ever made and that was to remove him from life support.”

Reyes died shortly after midnight on July 27, Sullivan said.

“Mahlon's body was tired and had put up an amazing fight,” she added. “He was the strongest guy we knew."

Wednesday evening, Flathead County Sheriff and Coroner Brian Heino said in a statement to TODAY that after an investigation he had determined Reyes’ cause of death was “acute cocaine intoxication” and the manner was accidental.

Cocaine-related deaths often happen when the person goes into cardiac arrest, meaning the heart stops, and then breathing stops, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.

Reyes had been a fan favorite of “Deadliest Catch” since he began appearing on the reality show in 2012. He was close friends with another cast mate, Nick McGlashan, who died at age 33 just five months after Reyes.

“Together again flying high,” Reyes' wife wrote after McGlashan’s death. “They both left such a mark on this world…They are raisin hell in heaven … rest in paradise my boys.”