‘Survivor’ contestant Ralph Kiser dead at 56: ‘He was bigger than life’
Former “Survivor” contestant Ralph Kiser has died. He was 56.
Kiser’s longtime girlfriend, LaVonda Wood, confirmed to Fox News Digital he suffered a fatal heart attack early Wednesday morning.
Kiser, a farmer from Lebanon, Virginia, appeared on Season 22 of “Survivor: Redemption Island” in 2011. He finished eighth in the competition.
Wood, who worked alongside the “love of her life” at the Clinch Mountain Small Animal Auction in his hometown, remembered Kiser as a man who “loved everybody.”
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Ralph Kiser, Grant Mattos, Rob Mariano, Phillip Sheppard, Ashley Underwood, Andrea Boehlke Mike Chiesl, of the Murlonio Tribe, during the eighth episode of "Survivor: Redemption Island."
(Michael Yarish/CBS )
“I just loved him. I don’t know how I’ll live without him. He was a force to be reckoned with. He was bigger than life. He consumed the room,” Wood shared.
“He smiled and loved everybody. He especially loved older people and children and he was amazing. He was like Dr. Doolittle, he was an animal whisperer. He was just incredible.”
Wood added that Clinch Mountain Small Animal Auction was his childhood dream. He died on the same farm he was born on, she said.
Ralph Kiser was a fan favorite in the "Survivor" series during Season 22.
(Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
“We did it together. He couldn’t do it without me and I couldn’t have done it without him,” Wood said of the business, adding that she’s “so proud” to have watched him live out his dream.
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“The Survivor family extends our deepest condolences to the family of Ralph Kiser,” “Survivor” host Jeff Probst said in a statement shared on the show’s Twitter account. “His huge smile, his positive attitude and of course his infectious rooster crow made him one of the most likable to ever play Survivor.”
Kiser was a fan favorite in the “Survivor” series during Season 22.
He called the experience on the CBS series “the time of my life” in an interview with People magazine shortly after his departure.
Ashley Underwood, Steve Wright, Ralph Kiser, Rob Mariano, Julie Wolfe, Phillip Sheppard, Andrea Boehlke, Grant Mattos, and Natalie Tenerelli, of the Murlonio Tribe during tribal council, during the tenth episode of "Survivor: Redemption Island."
(CBS via Getty Images)
“It was a dream come true for a man like me to be in Nicaragua and playing a game to be on television. What does that happen to anyone? Never, that’s when. I’d do it again over and over,” he told the outlet at the time.
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Ralph Kiser was "bigger than life," his girlfriend LaVonda Wood tells Fox News Digital.
(Michael Yarish/CBS )
“Survivor” podcast host Mike Bloom reacted to the news of his passing in an online post.
“It’s tough to dim the lights on #Survivor day, but it seems that the alumni family has lost another member today: Ralph Kiser from Redemption Island. R.I.P. to one of the few lights in a very dark season, who provided 33 days of accidental idol finding, rooster crowing & more,” he wrote on Twitter.