Sad news coming out today from the world of “Survivor.” As first reported by the Kansas City Star, B.B. Andersen, who was the second person ever voted out of the game and the first to seemingly volunteer himself to go home, passed away on Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 77 years old.
While “Survivor” may at this point feel like just another show on TV to younger audiences, this series was at the start of the millennium a phenomenon that only a few shows have ever come close to. The ratings were enormous, and almost everyone from the first two seasons especially went on to be household names and big stars for at least a year or two after the game. Andersen in particular, along with Rudy, helped to pave the way for other older contestants to take part in the show. He is the second former contestant to pass away, as Jenn Lyon from “Survivor: Palau” died at age 37 in 2010 following a battle with breast cancer.
Some of the people who came to know B.B. over the past decade-plus have also spoken out about their time with him, and how he was a part of a group that really changed the history of television.
Host Jeff Probst (per People) – “B.B. was one of the original cast members who launched Survivor back in 2000. He was a powerful presence on the show and that zest for epic adventure was at the heart of everything he did. I was very saddened to hear of his passing.”
Season 1 winner Richard Hatch (also per People) – “B.B. was a good man with whom I shared a memorable experience. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family.”
Season 1 contestant / former Pagong tribemate Gervase Peterson, who is also on this current season (per Twitter) – “RIP to my man BB. Survivor Original who paved the way for every other player to play the game. #pagong #survivor #knowyourhistory #OG”
“Survivor” has spawned 27 seasons so far (plus a 28th coming this spring), and also multiple international editions of the show along with hundreds of other copycats. While it may be hard to remember all of the individual contestants that have come since the start of the series, the original group will always hold a special place in our hearts.