Survivor: Redemption Island alum Ralph Kiser died on Wednesday, April 20. He was 56.
“He was a hardworking man and a damn good hunter,” Ralph’s nephew, George Kiser, told the outlet, noting that the death occurred around 3:15 a.m.
The Virginia native was thrilled after he finally got accepted to be on the CBS reality show in 2011 after applying several times.
“I’ve wanted to be on the show for years and knew one day I’d get my chance,” Ralph wrote in his official CBS biography at the time. “I want to be a hometown hero for the folks back home!”
The farmer was confident that his background and love of the land would serve as an asset during the competition.
“I’m a mountain man,” he said at the time. “I know plants, trees and what most of their uses are. I can also build anything; start a fire anywhere and make people believe anything I say I will be the king at camp because I can build shelter, cook, find food and be the leader.”
Ralph, who finished in ninth place overall after being eliminated on Day 33, was passionate about his farm and the work he did there.
“I’ve been at it all my life. I’m always amazed at my animals — how they grow and survive,” he wrote in his show bio. “Being able to watch the circle of life go ’round and be a part of it is a very satisfying adventure that I never get tired of.”
Survivor: Ghost Island alum Donathan Hurley paid tribute to the late reality star via Twitter on Wednesday, writing, “RIP Ralph Kiser! 💔 (from Redemption Island) @survivorcbs #Survivor.”
Survivor super fan Michael Allbright mourned the loss via a Facebook message, recalling several meetings with the former TV personality.
“It was really fun to meet Ralph and his family at the Redemption Island finale and then later at a few charity events,” he wrote at the time alongside a photo of him with Ralph. “If you have fond memories of Ralph please post them. I have no idea about funeral arrangements or anything, but if there is an update, I will pass that on.”