Boesch was 72 years old when he began his Survivor career on the reality competition series’ very first season (aka Survivor: Borneo) in 2000. Despite being significantly older than his fellow competitors, Boesch proved that age isn’t everything, ultimately finishing in third place behind Kelly Wiglesworth and Richard Hatch.
He returned to the world of Survivor in the show’s eighth season, Survivor: All-Stars, in 2004. Contrary to the success he found during his first voyage, Boesch was the second castaway to be voted off that year.
Born Rudolph Ernst Boesch in Rochester, N.Y., in 1928, he was just 17 years old when he entered the Navy, kicking off a 45-year career of continuous service. He eventually retired from the Navy as a Master Chief Petty Officer in 1990.
Hatch paid tribute to his fellow former castaway on Twitter:
Boesch joins a number of former Survivor contestants who have passed away, a list that includes Caleb Bankston (Survivor: Blood vs. Water), B.B. Andersen (Survivor: Borneo), Dan Kay (Survivor: Gabon), Ashley Massaro (Survivor: China) and Jenn Lyon (Survivor: Palau).
He is survived by his three daughters. How will you remember Boesch? Drop a comment with your memories of the Survivor icon below.