'Deadliest Catch' star Tony Lara dead at 50

Authorities say a man who has appeared as a ship captain on the Discovery Channel television program "Deadliest Catch" has died in Sturgis, South Dakota, during its famous motorcycle rally.

Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin says he's waiting on autopsy results to help determine the cause of 50-year-old Tony Lara's death.

The sheriff says Lara died early Saturday morning at a private residence in Sturgis.

A message at a phone number associated with Lara wasn't immediately returned.

Discovery Channel confirmed the star's death to FOX411.

“We've lost a member of the 'Deadliest Catch' family," the network said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this very sad time.”

A post on the Discovery website describes Lara as a veteran crab catcher. He appeared on the show at the helm of a boat called the Cornelia Marie.

Josh Harris worked on the Cornelia Marie with Lara and reflected on his death in a statement sent to FOX411. 

"Tony was to all of us with the Cornelia Marie a true friend," Harris said. "Tony was always there for the Harris Family. He offered his support and his advice. He taught and he educated. At the end of the day, Tony made all of us just a little bit better."

Friend Keith Colburn also issued a statement following the news of Lara's death.

"Tony was a friend for 20 years and my deepest thoughts go out to his family."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.