Remembering Sonja Christopher! Here's Every 'Survivor' Contestant Who Has Died Since Competing

(From L to R) 'Survivor' contestants Rudy Boesch, Jenn Lyon, and Cliff Robinson

Since Survivor has been on the air, over 600 people from different walks of life have put themselves out in the wild and on our screens to compete in a cutthroat game of survival and strategy for a million-dollar prize. But in the 20+ years that the show has been on, the alumni community has not been immune from loss. Here are all the former Survivor contestants who have died so far.

Survivor deaths

<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>

Courtesy of CBS

Sonja Christopher

Sonja Christopher holds a special commendation in Survivor history. The musician is the oldest woman to ever play at 63 years old. And she holds the honor of being the very first person voted out of the game, sent out in the show's premiere episode due to stumbling during the opening challenge. But Sonja took hearing the then-new catchphrase "The tribe has spoken" to heart, showing her warmth and generosity when she serenaded Richard Hatch with a ukulele song called "Bye Bye Blues." Sonja passed away for undisclosed reasons on April 26, 2024.

Rudy Boesch (seasons 1 and 8)

Rudy Boesch<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Rudy Boesch

Courtesy of CBS

Survivor's first season was a breakout hit in the summer of 2000, catapulting its cast of 16 into stardom. And perhaps chief among them was former Navy SEAL, Rudy Boesch. Rudy brought to the beaches of Borneo a lifetime of survival skills and a deadpan sense of humor. He got involved in the show's first-ever alliance and made an unlikely bond with eventual winner Richard Hatch, ultimately being the last person voted out of the season and finishing third overall. When Survivor produced its first All-Stars season four years later, Rudy was a lock, and to date is the oldest castaway to compete on the show. Rudy died at the age of 91 in a retirement community on Nov. 1, 2019, from complications associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

B.B. Andersen (season 1)

B.B. Andersen<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
B.B. Andersen

Courtesy of CBS

B.B. Andersen was also a part of Survivor's iconic first season, though he did not fare as well as Rudy. The real estate developer found himself in a tribe of people who were mostly under half his age. His hard work ethic and abrasive personality did not fit in with the rest of his group, and he was voted out first of his tribe and second overall. B.B. died from brain cancer on Oct. 29, 2013.

Clay Jordan (season 5)

Clay Jordan<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Clay Jordan

Courtesy of CBS

Clay Jordan spent his time on Survivor's fifth season as part of the older Chuay Gahn tribe, which ran one of the most dominant games of the earlier seasons. He particularly formed a close relationship with Brian Heidik, who took him to the Final Two. Clay did well in the end, only losing by one vote to the used car salesman. Clay passed away from an undisclosed illness, after losing his wife to COVID earlier in 2022.

Roger Sexton (season 6)

Roger Sexton<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Roger Sexton

Courtesy of CBS

Roger Sexton was the oldest person on Survivor's sixth season, which memorably saw the tribes being divided by gender. While a hard worker around camp, Roger was abrasive with his fellow tribemates, oftentimes being considered bigoted and misogynistic. His reputation came back to bite him at the merge, when he was sent off with one of the show's most memorable and biting voting confessionals from fellow contestant Rob Cesternino. Roger died after a long battle with Lewy Body Dementia in October 2022.

Jenn Lyon (season 10)

Jenn Lyon<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Jenn Lyon

Courtesy of CBS

Sadly, the Survivor community lost its first alumni on Jan. 19, 2010 in Jenn Lyon. Jenn spent her time in Survivor: Palau as part of the Koror tribe, one of the most dominant groups in the show's history. She finished in fourth, becoming the first-ever Survivor contestant to lose the now-typical fire-making challenge at the Final Four. Following her season, Jenn was diagnosed with breast cancer, and spent the remaining years of her life supporting causes around early education and awareness. After the cancer metastasized to the bone, she died shortly after attending a 10-year anniversary party for Survivor. A special that followed two weeks later, as well as the season 20 reunion special, had segments dedicated in her honor.

Angie Jakusz (season 10)

Angie Jakusz<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Angie Jakusz

Courtesy of CBS

Angie Jakusz spent her turbulent dozen days in Survivor: Palau as part of the ill-fated Ulong tribe, attending Tribal Council in every episode. Despite being last picked for her tribe, she worked her way from the outside in when she was proven to be a strong challenge competitor. In November 2017, Angie was diagnosed with a rare form of squamous cell colorectal cancer. She eventually died from said cancer on Jan. 8, 2021.

Related: Remembering the Stars and Legends We Lost in 2021

Ashley Massaro (season 15)

Ashley Massaro<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Ashley Massaro

Courtesy of CBS

Ashley Massaro came onto Survivor: China as a notable name, having spent a few years in the ring as part of the WWE. Unfortunately, she became sick in the game's opening days, and was the second voted off when the rest of her tribe felt she was too weak to continue. Ashley died by suicide at the age of 39 on May 16, 2019.

Dan Kay (season 17)

Dan Kay<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Dan Kay

Courtesy of CBS

Dan Kay was a cast member on Survivor: Gabon, starting the game on the chaotic Fang tribe. He was eventually swapped over to the other group, where the majority alliance voted him off for fear of having found a hidden immunity idol on Exile Island in the early days. Dan passed away under unspecified circumstances on Dec. 31, 2016.

Dan Lembo (season 21)

Dan Lembo<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Dan Lembo

Courtesy of CBS

Survivor: Nicaragua separated its castaways by age, and holding it down for the older group was Dan Lembo. The New Yorker was a fish out of water on Survivor, to the point that he brought expensive alligator shoes into the game that were promptly ruined by another contestant. Dan made it all the way to fifth place in the season, showing a full range of emotions from a fury-filled memorable jury speech at the final Tribal Council to a surprisingly tender loved ones visit with his son. Dan passed away after battling progressive supranuclear palsy, an irreversible brain condition, in September 2022.

Ralph Kiser (season 22)

Ralph Kiser<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Ralph Kiser

Courtesy of CBS

Farmer Ralph Kiser's personality shined in his 33 days on Survivor: Redemption Island. His quirky personality made him an early standout, and he became a key cog in an alliance that took out legendary villain Russell Hantz. Ralph was one of the final members of his alliance voted out, ultimately finishing ninth. He passed away on April 20, 2022 from a heart attack.

Caleb Bankston (season 27)

Caleb Bankston<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Caleb Bankston

Courtesy of CBS

Survivor: Blood vs. Water changed the game as we knew it, pitting former contestants against their loved ones. Caleb Bankston came onto the show as the fiancé of season 24 contestant Colton Cumbie. And though Colton left early on, Caleb continued far into the game. His elimination even earned commending remarks from host and executive producer Jeff Probst. Caleb was killed on June 24, 2014 in a work-related accident while on a railroad site.

Cliff Robinson (season 28)

Cliff Robinson<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Cliff Robinson

Courtesy of CBS

Cliff Robinson is one of the most noteworthy professional athletes to play Survivor, having spent 18 years in the NBA and earning a Sixth Man of the Year Award. He was placed on the Brawn tribe in Survivor: Cagayan and was immediately well-liked by his competitors. He ended up getting voted out fifth after a swap allowed his former tribe members to blindside him. Cliff died on August 29, 2020 from lymphoma.

Keith Nale (seasons 29 & 31)

Keith Nale<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Keith Nale

Courtesy of CBS

Keith Nale popped immediately on Survivor: San Juan Del Sur. Though he started the game with his son Wes, he proved to be a character in his own right. After losing all of his allies (including Wes) in the postmerge, he became a surprising underdog and challenge beast, taken out in the last vote to finish in fourth place. It was no surprise he earned a spot to return on Survivor: Second Chances, where he continued to deliver in comical character moments like saying a cruise was more fun than playing the game, and driving a tuk-tuk (which he called a "to-to") on a reward. Keith was able to replicate his deep run a second time, making it to his second finale and finishing in fifth. Keith passed in April 2023 at the age of 62.

Sunday Burquest (season 33)

Sunday Burquest<p>Courtesy of CBS</p>
Sunday Burquest

Courtesy of CBS

Sunday Burquest was proud to call herself a breast cancer survivor when playing on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. She formed tight relationships as part of the Gen X tribe, and was able to navigate a chaotic postmerge and a tense rock draw to make it to seventh place. Unfortunately, cancer showed back up in Sunday's life after her time on the island, as she was diagnosed with esophageal and ovarian cancer in 2020. After an outpouring of support from her season 33 castmates in her battle, Sunday passed away on April 18, 2021.

Next, Here's Everything To Know About the Current Season of Survivor