Iconic two-time Survivor contestant Rudy Boesch dead at 91

Photo by Online USA
Photo by Online USA /

Survivor Borneo and All-Stars contestant Rudy Boesch died this past Friday at the age of 91 after his hard-fought battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Over 19 years ago, Survivor first grazed our screens and captured the world’s attention thanks to its unique social game that gave viewers dynamic characters to root. One of the most critical components to the success of Borneo was Rudy Boesch, a former Navy Seal for 45 years who became a beloved TV personality thanks to his candid and honest remarks.

At 91 years old, PEOPLE confirms that Rudy Boesch died after a long fight with Alzheimer’s disease. The two-time player finished third in Borneo and was voted out second in All-Stars after an injury hampered his performance. It was in the premiere season of Survivor where the odd pairing of no-nonsense Rudy with flamboyant Richard Hatch changed the scene of television forever. Hatch was quick to share his feelings on his passing and the great relationship they shared.

Although Rudy wasn’t known for his strategy, he still left a major impact on this game, especially with the way he dealt with prejudice in his season. He is still the oldest contestant to play the game in both of his respective seasons at 72 in Borneo and 75 in All-Stars. Rudy was an infamous part of the first alliance ever created, as well as one of the most iconic duos in the game’s history.

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Other castaways weighed in on this sad news including some legends of the game, and here’s what they had to say:

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Rudy Boesch will be truly missed by his family, fellow castaways and the millions of viewers who tuned in to watch Borneo. His genuine and admirable personality drew us in and made it easy for us to root for him. Sometimes in newer Survivor seasons, it feels like casting tries to replicate the archetype of a certain character like the golden boy or the New York tough guy, but no one has ever been able to match Rudy Boesch’s unforgettable persona.