Rudy Boesch passed away on Friday night at the age of 91 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Boesch was one of the first contestants to ever appear on the reality show “Survivor.” He was 72 at the time the show aired in 2000. He finished in third place and was a fan favorite of the long-running reality TV show.
After being a beloved contestant during the first season, the show brought him back for season eight when he was 75 for “Survivor: All Stars.”
In addition to his late-in-life reality TV appearance, Boesch served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1990, enlisting when he was only 17. When he retired after 45 years of service, he was ranked as a Master Chief Petty Officer.
Fans of “Survivor,” as well as friends and supporters of Boesch, shared their condolences on Twitter for the late reality show star and retired Navy SEAL.
“A trailblazer and icon in reality television and one of the best characters in Survivor history,” one fan wrote.
Another tweeted, “Reality TV as we know it does not exist without Rudy Boesch. He epitomized what so many of us love about unscripted shows - he was real.”
Richard Hatch, the winner of the first season of "Survivor," memorably teamed up with Boesch to form one of the show's first alliances. In a tweet, Hatch reflected on the "interesting bond" the two men shared.
Another former “Survivor” contestant Joe Del Campo shared a tweet remembering his friend.
"It is with profound sadness I report my friend, Rudy (Boesch), passed away Friday, after a valiant struggle, with Alzheimer’s disease,” he wrote. “Rudy served 45 years as a Navy SEAL. Oldest cast member (72) Survivor, Seasons 1 (75) and “All-Stars. RIP, Rudy! I’m gonna to miss you! Joe.”
No further details have been released regarding Boesch’s services.