Caleb Bankston, a former contestant on the CBS reality series “Survivor,” has died. He was 26.
Bankston was an employee of the Alabama Warrior Railway in Birmingham, Alabama. He was killed on Tuesday (June 24) when the train he was working on derailed, according to People.com.
“Caleb was an amazing man and friend,” Bankston’s fellow contestant Aras Baskauskas told People in a statement. “One of the sweetest and most sincere humans I’ve ever come across. I am gutted by his loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Bankston appeared on 2013′s “Survivor: Blood Vs. Water,” the 27th edition of the revolutionary reality competition. The season featured ten returning players competing against ten of their loved ones. Bankston appeared alongside his fiancé and notorious “Survivor: One World” villain Colton Cumbie, who voluntarily withdrew from the season after seven stressful days on the island. The Alabama native was slated to marry Cumbie in October.
Following Cumbie’s self-imposed exit, Bankston continued to outwit, outplay and outlast his fellow “Survivor” competitors for several weeks, famously turning the tables on former ally and professional football player Brad Culpepper in one of the season’s most dramatic vote-outs. In the end, Bankston earned a respectable ninth-place finish, leaving the game on Day 30 of 39.
Bankston is the third “Survivor” player to have died since the show’s launch in 2000. “Survivor: Palau” contestant Jenn Lyon passed away in 2010 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Original “Survivor” player B.B. Andersen, the second contestant ever eliminated from the series, died last year of brain cancer at the age of 77.