Rudy Boesch, Legendary 'Survivor' Contestant and Navy SEAL, Dead at 91

Rudy Boesch Survivor
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The former Navy SEAL has died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Rudy Boesch, who was a contestant on season one of Survivor, died Friday night after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple outlets report. He was 91.

Born in Rochester, New York, Boesch competed in the augural Borneo season of the reality competition show in 2000, after serving in the U.S. Navy for 45 years. He was 72 at the time, and still holds the title as the oldest contestant to ever compete.

Boesch placed third, but was a fan-favorite from the beginning due to his beloved personality. He later returned for Survivor: All-Stars (season 8), exiting the competition as the second contestant to be sent home.

While Boesch loved his time on Survivor, it was no secret that nothing could compare to his first true love for the Navy.

"The best life in the world. Survivor was nothing compared to what I did, and it’s just that way," he said in an interview with The Virginian Pilot in 2014, adding that he's lived in the same Virginia Beach home for 65 years and that his three daughters and grandchild live nearby.

After hearing the news on Saturday, friends and family of Boesch took to social media to pay tribute.

"I heard the news today about my old roommate RUDY BOESCH passing away," wrote Rob Cesternino. "While I'm incredibly sad for the Boesch family, I'm so happy for the time that he and I shared and the many, many laughs we had on our adventure. RIP Rudy."

See more heartfelt tributes below: