Captain Mark Howard of 'Below Deck Med' Has Passed Away Due To Natural Causes

According to a recent report, Captain Mark Howard of Below Deck Mediterranean died in late October at the age of 65 from natural causes.

Howard's wife returned from a trip out of town to discover her husband was no longer alive.

It wasn't until recently that the cause of death was discovered.

Howard died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease, according to the report.

Chronic alcoholism was also mentioned as a contributing factor (via E! News).

Norma Trease, a family friend of Howard's, expressed her dissatisfaction with the way Howard's death was reported in the media.

Instead of celebrating her friend, whom Trease described as "charming and genial of men," early reports speculated about the cause of death.

"He had a tragic accident in his home, and as with any accident, police had to be called, and there was going to be an autopsy, and yes, indeed, that always leaves the question," Trease said on the Gangplank Report podcast.

"And I think the slightly insinuating tone, which started with TMZ and other outlets, was less than flattering and very unkind," she added.

"They spoke with me, and TMZ called and spoke with me about him," she said.

"And I gave them the same kind of honorable, truthful, loving commentary, and I told them about the outpouring of those sentiments toward Susan and all the many people who worked with and loved him; did they put any of that in those articles? No, they didn't."

Hannah Ferrier, a former chief stew, told Showbiz Cheat Sheet that she was shocked to learn of Howard's death.

She recalled, "He was an amazing captain to work with."

"And it was strange because [executive producer] Nadine [Rajabi] actually messaged me, saying, 'Oh I'm so sorry honey, Captain Mark has passed.' And I woke up to that, and my first instinct was, oh, I didn't know they were in talks with him to do another season."

"So I assumed she said he didn't want to do the show," Ferrier explained.

"And so I was like, 'Oh my god, I didn't know you guys were in talks with him to replace [Captain] Sandy [Yawn],' and then I went onto my Bravo press email, and I was like, 'Oh my god, he passed.' He didn't pass on doing the show, he passed."

Ferrier and Howard remained in contact, and she recalled that he had texted her shortly after her daughter Ava was born.

"And he'd messaged me about [daughter] Ava, and it was like a 'hope you're well' kind of thing, and I was just so saddened that I hadn't kept in closer contact after that," she continued.

Several members of the Below Deck crew posted about Howard on social media or spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about his death.

Tiffany Copeland tweeted, "RIP Captain Mark Howard. You were a joy to be around. You were a joy to be around."

"God speed Captain Mark," Captain Sandy Yawn told Showbiz Cheat Sheet.

Nadine Rajabi, executive producer of Below Deck Med, issued a statement on social media.

"Captain Mark Howard, may you rest in peace."

He was a wonderful man who was both caring and kind.

On the first season of Below Deck Med, he was our fearless leader.

What a wonderful human being he was.

He will be sorely missed.

I'm sending my condolences to his family and those whose lives he touched... I know I'll miss him."

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