Former Survivor contestant Roger Sexton has died after a lengthy battle with dementia. He was 76.
According to his obituary, the former reality star passed away on October 26 at the home of his daughter and son-in-law in Walla Walla, Washington. The TV personality faced a “valiant courageous battle with Lewy body dementia” and was surrounded by his friends and caretakers in his final moments, per the tribute.
The form of dementia Sexton experienced ahead of his death is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, the Mayo Clinic states.
The retired military man competed on the sixth season of the CBS reality show in 2002, which had two tribes that were divided based on gender. While on the Tambaqui tribe, he served as a leader to his fellow contestants despite butting heads with his castmates at times. Sexton lasted a total of 21 days in the Amazon after being blindsided by his merged tribe, Jacaré. He was the first one voted off at the merge and the seventh to leave the game overall, finishing the season in 10th place.
“Confidence, discipline, and determination to succeed were all vital components to Roger’s character, which assisted him in being cast on season 6 of the reality TV show Survivor in 2002,” his obituary read. “However, the other more challenging aspects of his character eventually prevailed, leading to his eventual demise, but provided lasting memories of the exacerbating force that was Roger.”
Before making his television debut, Sexton enlisted in the United States Marine Corps upon graduating from high school in 1964. He went on to serve in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967. After his service, he married longtime love Dianne Rodric in 1968.
The California native studied construction management at the California Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo which helped launch his career as a senior estimator and vice president for Tutor Perini Construction.
Sexton is survived by his wife, daughter Amy and her husband, two grandchildren and two sisters. He was predeceased by daughter Heather, who passed away in 1992 at age 16 due to viral pneumonia.
Ahead of the CBS alum’s death, Amy welcomed children Drew and Hadley. The little ones called their grandfather “Be Pa,” according to his obituary. “Therefore, it is with love that we say goodbye, or as Be Pa would often say, ‘See you later, alligator, in a while, crocodile, don’t let the moles slow you down,” the tribute read.