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'Survivor' Star Rudy Boesch Dead at 91

'Survivor' Star Rudy Boesch Dead at 91
Tony Esparza/CBS

Rudy Boesch, the cantankerous former Navy SEAL who appeared on Season 1 of "Survivor" in 2000, has died at 91 following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, THR reports.

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Steve Gonzalez, Director of Operations of the SEAL Veterans Foundation in Virginia Beach, where Boesch lived, said in a statement, "Master Chief Rudy Boesch passed away [Friday] night. He was surrounded by his family and passed away peacefully. He proudly served our nation from 1944-1990 and his impact on the men and women of Naval Special Warfare and the Special Operations Command is immeasurable... Rudy was beloved by all and will be deeply missed."

Richard Hatch, an ally of Boesch's on the show, said in a statement to THR, "Rudy and I connected in a special way. Different generations and divergent perspectives in many ways, but we respected one another and enjoyed a close relationship. I’d like to believe he and I paved the way for others to do the same."

For his efforts, Rudy finished third on Season 1. He returned in 2004 for "Survivor: All-Stars," but was eliminated quickly.

At 72, he remains the long-running series' oldest competitor.