Former Survivor: Redemption Island contestant Ralph Kiser has died at the age of 56.
Kiser passed away on Wednesday morning after suffering a heart attack, his family tells The Sun.
Survivor superfan Michael Allbright also shared the news in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
“I have some unfortunate news for the Survivor community,” Allbright wrote. “Ralph Kiser passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack this morning. His brother Gilbert messaged me this morning to let the Survivor community know.”
“Ralph was on Redemption Island, was one of the key players from Zapatera, found an idol, targeted Russell Hantz, wasn’t mesmerized by Boston Rob like many on Redemption Island, and even voted for Phillip Sheppard to win the game,” he added.
Kiser — a farmer from Lebanon, Virginia — competed in Survivor’s 22nd season, which aired in 2011, as a member of the Zapatera tribe. He placed ninth overall in the competition after being eliminated on Day 33. At 44 years old at the time of filming, he was the oldest member to win a duel on Redemption Island.
Survivor host Jeff Probst paid tribute on Thursday via the show’s Twitter account, writing, “The Survivor family extends our deepest condolences to the family of Ralph Kiser. His huge smile, his positive attitude and of course his infectious rooster crow made him one of the most likable to ever play Survivor. We are all so sorry for your loss.”
In his official bio for the CBS reality competition, Kiser said he wanted to be on the show for years and “knew one day I’d get my chance. I want to be a hometown hero for the folks back home!”
Kiser also listed his farm as his inspiration. “I’ve been at it all my life. I’m always amazed at my animals — how they grow and survive. Being able to watch the circle of life go ’round and be a part of it is a very satisfying adventure that I never get tired of.”