A sad goodbye. Survivor 29 alum Keith Nale has died according to his two former co-stars Kelley Wentworth and Jeremy Collins, who confirmed the news via Twitter on Apr. 18. His son, Wes, also confirmed the somber news to ET that same day. “He passed away this afternoon. He’d been battling cancer for the past few months and we found out about it in January,” his son told the outlet. “A life taken way too soon!”, his brother, Kevin Nale added.
“Keith – a man with the purest heart, who brought humor into moments where it was needed most,” the 37-year-old blonde beauty wrote Tuesday night. “I’m grateful I had the opportunity to meet Keith & share memories together on the beaches of Nicaragua & Cambodia. My heart is with the entire Nale family. This is a devastating loss.” HollywoodLife reached out to representatives at CBS but did not receive an immediate response.
Jeremy, 44, also shared a throwback photo to mourn Keith on Wednesday. “My condolences to the Big D, Wes, Austin and entire Nale family,” his tweet began. “You will be missed Keith but your legacy will live on. Rest in power my firefighter/survivor brother. #RIPOtis.” The late TV personality was a fire captain for many years and appeared on the show alongside his son, Wes.
Keith – a man with the purest heart, who brought humor into moments where it was needed most. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to meet Keith & share memories together on the beaches of Nicaragua & Cambodia. My heart is with the entire Nale family. This is a devastating loss 💔 pic.twitter.com/FHPnrmKx5a
— Kelley Wentworth (@kelleywentworth) April 19, 2023
Eight years prior to his untimely passing, Keith opened up to Entertainment Weekly about being a novice to the show. Keith made his debut when he appeared on Survivor: San Juan del Sur in 2014, which saw Natalie Anderson, 37, take home the winning title. “No strategy,” he told the outlet in 2015. “Wesley got me in this so I just showed up for him — what the heck, try to win a million dollars. Well, I tried to do it my way and it got me to fourth place. You’re right, no strategy.” One year after his first time on the show, Keith returned for Survivor: Cambodia, however, Jeremy was named the winner that season.
Many of Keith’s fans have now taken to Twitter to mourn the loss of the beloved firefighter. “#Survivor needed Keith Nale. Someone who was wholeheartedly himself, whether it be getting spooked by idols, taking up a side hustle driving ‘to-to’s,’ or reminding us the fun of cruises,” one fan wrote. “RIP to a character who gave us 75 days of entertainment. My heart goes out to Dana & Wes.” Meanwhile, another wrote, “RIP Keith Nale. I could watch him play #Survivor ever day for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t get old. One of the truly unique characters in all of reality tv.”
Keith’s son, Wes, gushed about his dad in an emotional Instagram post on Mar. 2017. “Congrats #survivor on your 500th episode tonight! What a milestone! Thank you #jeffprobst for giving me and my dad the opportunity to play this wonderful game and the rest of @officialsurvivor_cbs crew for helping out so much with everything,” his caption began. “Me and my dad are so thankful for each and every one of y’all. I have a feeling tonight is gonna be a gooden#gamechanger #500thepisode #1dayillbeback.”
Shortly after being sent home from his time on San Juan del Sur, the fan-favorite opened up about competing on the show in his 50s. “They were impressed, being I was 53. Now granted that’s not 93, but that’s not 23 either,” he told UpRoxx in Dec. 2014. “And I said ‘Man, they were impressed with some of the challenges.’ They said, ‘Man, I couldn’t have hung on that pole for an hour and a half.’ They were all behind me, a great bunch of guys. They wanted me to win it and, you know, bring it home to Louisiana. But that just didn’t happen.”