'Survivor' Contestant Leaves the Competition After 48 Hours Over 'Concern' for His Health and Safety

"It was the best 48 hours I've had ever," Jackson Fox said

One Survivor contestant's time in the competition was cut unexpectedly short.

During Wednesday's season 42 premiere, castaway Jackson Fox — a 48-year-old healthcare worker from Pasadena, Texas — was forced to leave the game after only 48 hours. He was the first openly transgender contestant to appear on the show.

Jackson's sudden departure comes after he failed to disclose a key aspect of his medical history to the show prior to filming. At the time, it was revealed that Jackson was taking lithium, a psychiatric medication, to help him sleep and manage his anxiety.

Host Jeff Probst made a rare appearance on the beach to have a one-on-one with Jackson about the medical issue.

"During the Survivor casting process, we spend a lot of time getting to know players [and] getting to know you. It's one of the best parts of the job. From go, you were a homerun. It was an absolute has to be on the show," said Jeff, 60. "There's another element throughout the casting process where we ask you to always keep us updated with anything that changes with your medical situation — doctors visits, anything. That's because we have to make sure we can take care of you when you're out here."

jackson fox
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Jeff continued, "The day before we're going to shoot, you disclose some new medical information and we all decided, let's let Jackson start the game because nothing is going to happen in 24, 48 hours. So nobody's worried about you at this point. Everybody for the last two days has been trying to figure out how we can do this."

The show's host then questioned why Jackson waited until the last minute to tell the Survivor crew about his medical history.

"I was just trying to quit it completely because I didn't need it anymore," Jackson said, adding that Jackson said he began taking the medication in 2016 while he was taking care of his sick mother. "I remember talking to my wife, she's a nurse, and I said, 'Well, I'm on lithium.' And she's like, 'Well, you're weaning yourself off of it. You'll probably be off of it [when Survivor begins]."

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Jackson then pointed out that there's a "stigmatism" surrounding lithium medication.

"Everyone hears the word, lithium, and they go way back in time. And they're like, 'That was a huge drug back in the day. That was a scary drug to be on,'" he continued.

"Their first thought is the transition. Was it because of your transition? I'm like, 'That had nothing to do with it,'" he added. "If that was the case, I would've been on lithium 20 years ago because I was so unhappy. But that wasn't the case."

Jackson said he's "not ashamed" to admit he needs "help with certain things," which was why he was so open to discussing the reason for his lithium medication. But Jeff cited the problem with taking lithium, saying it has "a reaction when you are stressed, not eating, dehydrated, not sleeping [and doing] physically demanding challenges."

jackson fox
Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

"That's where our concern came. The cumulative effect of the show would have a potentially very bad impact on you, and we don't want that," Jeff said. "Your safety is paramount. We can't do it. We can't."

Jackson was understanding of the situation and expressed his appreciation to Jeff for speaking to him about it.

"I take this with love," he said. "I know that I'll be friends with these people [I met on the show], and I appreciate you giving me the opportunity. For someone who didn't like anything about them for 40 years then have someone say people liked things about you that you didn't know you were capable of, speaks volumes. And I appreciate it. It was the best 48 hours I've had ever."

Shortly after their discussion, Jackson and Jeff informed his tribe of his departure. "As much as I would love to be here, they're going to have to take me off," he said.

Jackson's tribe members, many of whom were in tears, approached him to wish him farewell. He then left the island on a boat.

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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