Survivor is honoring the life of one of its own.
At the end of Wednesday night’s episode, the CBS reality competition series included a memorial card dedicated to Rudy Boesch, the season 1 contestant who died at age 91 last week.
“A Survivor icon. An American hero,” the card read, alongside a photo of Boesch on the show.
The show’s Twitter account also shared the memorial card, adding, “You will be deeply missed, Rudy” with heart and flag emojis in the caption.
PEOPLE confirmed on Friday that Boesch had died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Boesch, a former Navy Seal, was cast on the inaugural season of the long-running reality show in 2000. Then 72, Boesch finished the season in third place and quickly became a fan favorite due to his lovably cantankerous persona. He also competed on Survivor: All-Stars and was the second person voted out.
“It didn’t take long for Rudy to become my favorite human, not only in the game of Survivor but also in life,” Kelly Wiglesworth told PEOPLE. Wiglesworth was the runner-up of the first season, and she was in an alliance with Boesch.
“We started to get to know each other on that island and with each day, I liked him more, we liked each other more. We would pass each other in the early dawn light every morning, both of us running laps to keep our physicality up,” she said. “He would talk, lovingly about [his wife] Marge and their daughters and how he was doing this for them and that at 72, he wasn’t in this game for himself and that he had nothing to prove.”
Meanwhile, Richard Hatch, the winner of Survivor season 1, tweeted: “Ours was an interesting bond, Dear Rudy! You and I helped open minds and undermine predjudces [sic]. While your time here has passed, you will remain loved and iconic, dear friend!”
“We lost an original OG @survivorcbs legend,” added Rob Mariano, better known to fans as Boston Rob, who shared that he felt “fortunate to have known him” and played alongside him in Survivor: All Stars.
“Rudy was always very nice to me,” he continued. “Our Sincere condolences to his Family. Rest In Peace Rudy.”
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
We lost an original OG @survivorcbs legend... Rudy was always very nice to me. I feel fortunate to have known him and played the game of with him #SurvivorAllStars Our Sincere condolences to his Family. Rest In Peace Rudy😢— Boston Rob (@BostonRob) November 2, 2019
Posting a photograph from their time together, Survivor: All Stars contestant Rob Cesternino, who spent weeks with Boesch after they were voted out of the competition, reflected on the “many, many laughs” they shared.
“I heard the news today about my old roommate RUDY BOESCH passing away. 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,” he wrote.
I heard the news today about my old roommate RUDY BOESCH passing away. 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 pic.twitter.com/XnQpr73uqx— Rob Cesternino 🛎 (@robcesternino) November 2, 2019
Survivor: Australia winner Tina Wesson was also on a tribe with Boesch on Survivor: All Stars — and was amazed at the then-75-year-old’s stamina.
“What you saw on TV is exactly the man he was,” Wesson told PEOPLE. “He was tough as nails suffering from a bad case of gout on Survivor All-Starsbut never really complaining about it, though his foot looked like it may fall off!”
“He has always had the respect of every young whippersnapper who came out to play Survivor. Because none of us could do what he did at his age!” Wesson added.
Boesch enlisted in the United States Navy at the end of World War II in 1945. He was chosen as one of the first Navy SEALS in 1962. He completed two combat deployments during the Vietnam War, earning the Bronze Star for heroic action. He retired from the Navy in 1990 after 45 years of continuous service.
Boesch married Marjorie Thomas in 1955, and they had three children. They remained married for 53 years, until her death in 2008.