Rudy Boesch, the oldest person to compete on “Survivor,” died Friday from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, according to numerous media reports. He was 91 and was a resident of Virginia Beach, Va.
A former Navy Seal, Boesch appeared on the first season of the reality show in 2000. He was 72 at the time and finished in third place.
Boesch formed an alliance with Richard Hatch, the winner of the first season, who tweeted, “Ours was an interesting bond, Dear Rudy! You and I helped open minds and undermine prejudices. While your time here has passed, you will remain loved and iconic, dear friend!”
Known for his politically incorrect statements known as “Rudyisms” and gruff manner, he nevertheless became a fan favorite. He was eliminated in the final highly-rated episode of the “Survivor: Borneo” season.
Boesch returned on “Survivor: All Stars” in 2004, and became the second person voted off the show.
He was born in Rochester, N.Y. and joined the Navy in 1945. Boesch became one of the first officers of the original SEAL Team Two in 1962 and served in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for heroic action. He received the “Bullfrog” designation as the longest-serving SEAL before his retirement in 1990.
Several television appearances followed his popular “Survivor” stint, including a role on “JAG” and hosting duties on “Modern Marvels” and “Combat Missions.”