James Harness of “Gold Rush” fame died at the age of 57, with his family announcing his death a week after he died. Harness was on Season one of “Gold Rush,” but he was let go during the second season filming. The familty of Harness wasn't very forth coming with information about Harness' death. They did say that he had a stroke the week before he died, according to Oregon Live on July 5.
Harness, who suffered from massive back pain after a car accident was taking pain medication for his chronic pain while on "Gold Rush" cast. The pills became a problem and he was not showing up on time and sometimes not at all, according to TMZ. On the first season of "Gold Rush" there wasn't anything that Harness couldn't fix. The crew depended heavily on the man when equipment went down and needed an immediate fix to keep panning for gold.
While the family of Harness did said that he had suffered a stroke the week before he died, they stopped short of saying if complications of that stroke were the cause of Harness’ death. No official word on how Harness died has been releases.
Todd Hoffman, who is the creator of “Gold Rush” and who also ran the crew that James Harness was part of on the show, posted to his Twitter account about James’ passing. At first he posted a simple “RIP James Harness” but later posted a picture and said “Remembering the good times I had with a friend.”
Fans of the show “Gold Rush” have sent their condolences via Todd’s Twitter page. Todd also posted, “None of us know the time of our passing but we are called today to Iive and glorify Him through that life we have.”
Some of the fans of the show posted their thoughts on James. One tweet suggested that it might be time to take down the clips that were confrontational that James appeared in, “given the circumstances.”
In the first season of “Gold Rush” Harness was Todd’s “go-to-man.” Some of the jobs that needed to be done out on the Yukon, could only be done by Harness and when he was late or incapacitated with back pain, this made for some delays that boiled down to money being lost. If the crew and machinery is not up and running, each minute can mean money lost during the short gold panning season that was offered in the Yukon climate.
Fans picked up on Harness’s problems, which were obvious on the show. One fan mentioned Harness's problem with the pain medication in a tweet back from 2011. A tweet from Griffin Mahon said “Every time some equipment breaks, I get fearful that #JamesHarness will be too strung out on morphine to fix it.”
James Harness was laid to rest in a funeral on Saturday in his home state of Oregon. While he might have had some problems with pain medication, he was still a gentle giant of sorts on the show. Harness was divorced and had two children.