Has Anyone Died on ‘Survivor’?

Few reality TV shows test their contestants quite like Survivor. The show constantly challenges its participants, physically and mentally. It’s led to many breakdowns throughout the years. In the hopes of winning the contest, many contestants have pushed themselves to their physical limits, and it’s produced some dramatic results.

Due to the show’s intense nature, you may be wondering if anyone has died while participating in the show. Let’s take a closer look to see if anyone’s ever died on the program or if anyone has suffered serious injuries while competing. 

‘Survivor’ is a physically taxing show

Jeff Probst on the Winners at War season finale of 'Survivor'
Jeff Probst on ‘Survivor’ | CBS via Getty Images

The premise for Survivor is simple: a group of people is sent to an exotic, remote location. They are separated into two groups and referred to as “tribes.” They then participate in a series of challenges, pitting the tribes against each other. The entire time, they’re forced to live as they would if they don’t have access to any of the comforts of modern times and technology. 

As the show progresses, tribes vote off members one by one. Eventually, only one person remains, and that person is crowned the sole survivor. Throughout each season, both tribes are put through a series of grueling challenges. Not only do they have to outwit the competition, but they also have to do so while completing strenuous physical tasks. Meanwhile, they’re also eating an unusual diet they aren’t accustomed to. 

In short, each Survivor contestant exposes their bodies to some significantly different conditions than they’re used to in a short period of time. It has the potential to have negative effects on their health and wellbeing if they go too far. So, has anyone ever died when on the show? 

No contestants have died on the show, but there have been serious injuries

If you’re not a Survivor superfan who’s seen every season, you may not know the answer to this question. However, don’t worry too much. Thankfully, no one has ever died while being a contestant on the show. 

That’s not to say no one has ever been hurt, however. Take host Jeff Probst, for instance. Probst told The Rachel Ray Show, a clip of which can be found on YouTube, that he’s had multiple brushes with wildlife and weapons. Probst said he was nearly stung by a jellyfish and a scorpion at different points. He also nearly cut his hand off. 

It all started when Probst encountered a local island resident who was chopping coconuts with a sharp machete. 

“…I said, ‘Do you think I could do that?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah man, take my machete.’ I do the first hit, and it glances off and slices my wrist open. And it does that thing where the skin peels back and at first nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, bum bum, bum bum, I went green, I laid back on the rock. The doctors came over and took me out on the boat ride and said, ‘You just missed that thing that would have killed your hand.”

It just goes to show how dangerous life on Survivor really can be, even if no one’s died from being on the show. Sadly, however, some of the former cast members have left us since their run on the show ended. 

Former ‘Survivor’ cast members who have since passed on

Heavy compiled a list of cast members who have died since being on the show. There have been nine cast members who have died in total, including: 

  • B.B. Anderson
  • Caleb Bankston
  • Rudy Boesch, the oldest person to compete on the show at the age of 72 and an inaugural cast member
  • Sunday Burquest
  • Angie Jakusz
  • Dan Kay
  • Jenn Lyon 
  • Ashley Massaro
  • Former NBA player Cliff Robinson

While it’s great that no one has ever perished while on the show, it’s nonetheless sad that it has lost cast members throughout the years. 

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