Boesch died on Friday night from complications from Alzheimer’s disease, PEOPLE confirmed. The retired Navy SEAL competed on the first season of CBS reality competition series, Survivor: Borneo, back in 2000. He made it to the finals and finished in third place. When he was on the show, Boesch was 72, making him the oldest Survivor competitor to ever play the game in all 39 seasons. Boesch returned to the franchise to compete once again in 2004 for Survivor: All-Stars where he was the second person voted out.
“Ours was an interesting bond, Dear Rudy!” Boesch’s closest Survivor ally Richard Hatch, who won the first season, tweeted. “You and I helped open minds and undermine predjudces [sic]. While your time here has passed, you will remain loved and iconic, dear friend!”
Ours was an interesting bond, Dear Rudy! You and I helped open minds and undermine predjudces. While your time here has passed, you will remain loved and iconic, dear friend!— Richard Hatch (@HatchRichard) November 2, 2019
The lovable yet blunt Navy SEAL also served as the ”Camp Commander” of USA’s 2002 reality series Combat Missions from Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett in which military and law enforcement elites competed against each other in operations like hostage rescues and tank takeouts. Before he became a reality TV persona, Boesch was a decorated Navy SEAL, enlisting at the end of World War II in 1945. He was actually one of the very first Navy SEALS, chosen in 1962. During his service, he earned the Bronze Star for heroic action in the Vietnam War. He retired from the Navy in 1990 after 45 years of service.
Boesch wed Marjorie Thomas in 1955, and they were married for 53 years until her death in 2008. He is survived by their three children.
TMZ first reported this news.