Dan Kay, a former contestant on Survivor: Gabon, died unexpectedly on Dec. 31, PEOPLE has confirmed. He was 40.
Kay, an attorney from Brookline, New Hampshire, was born in 1976. According to an obituary from the Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory, he earned a bachelor’s degree from UMass-Amherst and, later, a law degree from Syracuse University.
Kay practiced law in Boston for five years and used his money to purchase several investment properties. The long hours and stressful environment left him feeling depressed and unfulfilled, so he made a change in his early 30s. He left his job and sold his investments before competing on Survivor: Gabon. “I had my midlife crisis early,” he told PEOPLE at the time. “It was a big decision to change things up, but I think it’ll be better for my life.”
Kay’s obituary describes his hobbies as “running, skiing, listening to music, and attending Crossway Christian Church” and notes that his “desire to be challenged and his quest for adventure led to his participation on the reality show, Survivor.”
Kay was 32 when he competed on the show, which aired in the fall of 2008. As he introduced himself to fellow castaways, Kay said, “Hi I’m Dan. I was an attorney for five years and I am currently finding myself.” He lasted 21 days before being voted out after other contestants were concerned that he had a hidden immunity idol.
Survivor host and executive producer Jeff Probst tweeted his condolences on Tuesday after news of Kay’s death broke.
Former Survivor contestants also took to social media to express their shock and sorrow at Kay’s sudden death. Eliza Orlins, who competed twice on the show, tweeted that she was “devastated” and that the Survivor family “lost a good one.”
Gillian Larson, who competed in Gabon with Kay, sent her love and condolences to his family on Facebook, calling Kay’s death “terribly sad news.”
Kay is the fourth Survivor alumni to pass away since the show premiered. In 2010, Jenn Lyon, who placed fourth on Survivor: Palau, died after a six-year battle with breast cancer. Original Survivor contestant BB Andersen died of brain cancer in 2013 at age 77. In 2014, 26-year-old Blood vs. Water contestant Caleb Bankston was killed in a railway accident.
Dan Kay is survived by his two young children, Reese Elizabeth and Jackson “Jax” Russell-Reid, as well as his girlfriend, Jennifer DePietro, mother, Jean-Ann, and sister, Andrea.