Gold Rush Wiki

James Harness (1956 - died 3 July 2014) was the mechanic of the Hoffman Crew. Harness is able to fix anything and everything that becomes broken at the claims. 10 years prior to the mining, Harness was involved in a car accident that left him with a massive spinal injury, and has never been able to afford the surgery. This has caused problems, and in one instance he was in incredible pain because of the work. During the off-season, a Boston medical center, inspired by his story, paid for the much needed surgery, saving the injured mechanic.

Three months after the second season, Todd Hoffman fired him from the Hoffman Crew due to his absences over the course of the mining season caused by his huge addiction to pain pills.("Revelations")

James Harness died at age 57, due to a stroke, in 2014 July 3rd.[1] His death was revealed to audiences in season 5's episode 8, Gold Blodded, on 10 December 2014. The scene where Todd announced his death was clearly scripted and filmed months after his death. The miners were gathered around a campfire after sundown dressed in heavy jackets, but if Harness had actually died "yesterday" the sun would not have gone down until after 1am and the crew would not need to wear heavy clothing. This mirrors the scene when Harness was fired, where audio was dubbed in after the fact and only the back of Harness' head was shown. Harness later claimed that he was not even present at the meeting as it was shown, and Todd edited the footage to portray Harness in the worst light possible.