Former “Survivor: Palau” star Jennifer Lyon has died, a rep for CBS confirmed to Access Hollywood.
The reality star passed away at her home in Oregon on Tuesday night, the rep told Access.
“Survivor” host Jeff Probst shared some of his memories of Lyon, in a statement to Access, and he said she was an open and very real woman.
“Over the past several weeks we had some beautiful talks about life and death,” Probst said. “Jenn was so willing to share what she was feeling, including the very real and very scary parts of dealing with terminal cancer.”
Probst said she was a woman who shared a lot of insight about life with him.
“Jenn did such a good job of showing me how to love someone who is dying that it is surprisingly easy to talk about her passing. I feel there is great knowledge she wanted to share with others about how to deal with someone who is dying,” he said.
“Throughout her battle with cancer, friends would often encourage her to ‘Fight harder. Stay positive.’ It’s a well-intentioned gesture but as I learned through Jenn, it’s not always the right one,” Probst’s statement continued. “If I learned anything from Jenn it is this: Don’t be afraid to ask someone how they are truly feeling about dying. Don’t shy away from the scary parts of death. They need someone to talk to about what is going on inside their head. Most importantly, encourage them to let go of the expectations of others and give them permission to do what is right for them, even if it means letting go.”
Lyon was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer after exiting “Survivor” in 2005, where she finished fourth in the reality contest. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy, according to People. And she once credited “Survivor” for helping her battle the disease.
”‘Survivor’ taught me there’s an end in sight,” she previously told the mag. “As hard as it is, it will be over, and you have to appreciate every day.”
“Survivor: Panama” star Austin Carty, who dated Lyon in 2006, told Us Weekly she was a wonderful person.
“Jen was a genuinely selfless, sweet-natured person,” he said on Wednesday, after news broke of her death. “She always had a smile. She cared about every person.”
Lyon, who was born in Nevada, but grew up in Washington and Oregon, had become an advocate for breast cancer research.
“This has really rocked the ‘Survivor’ community. It’s just so sad,” Carty added.