Caleb Bankston, who competed on Survivor: Blood vs. Water in 2013, worked at the Alabama Warrior Railway in Birmingham, Alabama. He died in a railway accident on the 24th of June, when the train he was riding on derailed. Caleb was only 26 years old and was supposed to get married to his fiancé Colton Cumbie this October.
Caleb Bankston was one of the long-running reality show’s few gay contestants, who competed on the CBS reality show with his fiancé Colton Cumbie. He was a fan favorite, and Caleb made it to ninth place before joining the jury. The Survivor community was dealt a shocking blow when they overheard the news. “The entire Survivor crew is together in Nicaragua. We are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of Caleb,” Jeff Probst, host and executive producer of Survivor, said in a statement. “He was one of the most humble and likable contestants we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with on the show. A true gentleman. He will be missed by so many. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family and to his fiancé, Colton”.
Caleb will also be remembered by his fellow Survivor contestants, including Aras Baskauskas. “Caleb was an amazing man and friend,” Aras tells People Magazine. “One of the sweetest and most sincere humans I’ve ever come across. I am gutted by his loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.” Sabrina Thompson, who competed on Survivor: One World with Caleb’s fiance, Colton, recalls how in love the young couple were. “While playing Survivor with Colton, he would talk about his boyfriend, Caleb, around the clock 24/7,” she tells. “Within seconds of meeting Caleb at the finale and Survivor events, it’s no wonder why he raved about him. You were instantly drawn to his big smile, warm spirit and Southern charm. May God rest his soul … gone too soon.”
Things about Caleb Bankston on Survivor:
Hobbies: Riding horses, working with my dogs and hunting/fishing.
Three Words to Describe You: Hard-working, hard-headed, and outdoorsman.
Inspiration in Life: My momma and dad. They built a small five acre farm into a large cattle/chicken operation and have helped me more than I deserve or could ever return. They are very hard working and focused people and they have taught me how to be a man.
Reason for Being on SURVIVOR: Showing America how farm boys from Alabama do things.
Why You Think You’ll “Survive” SURVIVOR: I can definitely outlast anybody and I won’t have any enemies.
Why You Think You Will Be the Sole SURVIVOR: I am very good at working with my hands, really good at figuring things out and problem solving.
What Does It Mean to You to Play Survivor with Your Loved One? Survivor made Colton realize a lot of things he didn’t know about himself. Some things were good and some were not so good. He grew so much from that experience and I wish I could have been there to experience it with him. When we learned it was a possibility that we could play Survivor together, I jumped at the chance because as much as he grew as a person from the first time playing, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that our relationship could withstand anything and it would only be strengthened through Survivor. However, on a selfish level, I wanted to help show America what love looks like because it doesn’t matter whether it is between two men, two women, or a man and woman. Love is love and I love Colton.
Colton is devastated off course and tweeted from his protected account, “I just wish it was me….” after learning the tragic news. It’s so sad to see Caleb go at such a young age. My thoughts are with Colton and the rest of Caleb’s family and friends during this difficult time. Nobody should lose their love too soon.
Big kiss, Lesley