38-year-old Thierry Costa had been the staff doctor for French “Survivor” spin-off “Koh-Lanta” for the past four seasons, but he did not survive the media scrutiny following a seemingly healthy 25-year-old contestant’s death just 10 days ago.
Young contestant Gérald Babin died while competing in his first challenge on the first day of the French reality show after he suffered cardiac arrest during filming in Cambodia.
As a result, Costa, who had worked as a doctor for 20 years, felt his efforts were diminished by the press in what he called misleading stories.
“These past days, my name has been smeared in the media,” Costa wrote in a handwritten suicide note describing how he was affected by the media coverage following the death of the contestant. “In recent days my name has been sullied in the media.”
“Unjust accusations and assumptions have been made against me,” he continued in the note published on Le Parisien’s website, which he requested be made public. “I am sure I treated Gerald with respect as a patient and not as a contestant.”
Contestant Babin’s family announced Monday they will seek damages on the basis of “illegal conditions” and “breaches of health and safety,” according to their lawyer, who is seeking all of the footage from the production company as evidence.
“French authorities have also opened a preliminary investigation into the circumstances surrounding his treatment and death, and may pursue manslaughter charges,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Dr. Costa’s note, which he wanted made public, was left on the below hotel stationary:
The show’s production company Adventure Line Productions (ALP) said in a statement Thursday: “We have learned with dismay that Dr. Thierry Costa passed away in Cambodia today. His high level of professionalism and humanity towards participants and production teams has always been unanimously recognised.”
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