Captain Mark Howard, 'Below Deck Mediterranean' 's First Captain, Dead at 65

"You were a joy to be around," tweeted costar Tiffany Copeland

Captain Mark Howard
Photo: Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic

The Below Deck family is mourning the loss of one of their own.

Captain Mark Howard, who appeared on season 1 of Below Deck Mediterranean, died on Thursday, according to his friend and costar Tiffany Copeland. He was 65.

"RIP Captain Mark Howard. You were a joy to be around," tweeted Copeland, who served under Howard as 3rd stewardess aboard the Ionian Princess.

"I don't have many details at this time, but he passed away yesterday," she added in another tweet.

A family friend told TMZ Howard died at home in Florida. A rep for Bravo did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Below Deck fans first met Captain Howard when the Mediterranean spinoff premiered in 2016, as he and his crew chartered passengers around Greece. Known for his professionalism and hands-on approach, Howard had served as a yacht captain for nearly 30 years when the show premiered.

The Michigan native also had a pilot license under his belt, and he enjoyed flying helicopters.

Although Howard had remained mostly out of the spotlight since his time on the show and had a minimal social media presence, he stayed in touch with his crew.

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Hannah Ferrier, who served under Howard as chief stewardess, gave an update on their relationship in 2019. "Captain Mark and I, we send a message maybe once a year, just to touch base. I really like him," she said on Bravo's The Daily Dish podcast.

"I don't really think I knew what he was up to when I was working with him, let alone three years later," Ferrier added with a laugh. "He was like the opposite of [Captain Sandy Yawn]. He kind of drove the boat and stayed in his cabin, so it was lovely."

Howard is survived by his wife Susan.

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