Kay, who was also a lawyer from New Hampshire, practiced law in Boston for five years and used his earnings to buy multiple investment properties. Despite his achievements he was feeling depressed, so in his early 30s, he quit his job and sold all of his investments, then signed up for Survivor.
“I had my mid-life crisis early,” he told People magazine at the time. “It was a big decision to change things up, but I think it’ll be better for my life.”
Kay appeared on Survivor: Gabon in 2008, when he was 32 years old and “finding himself,” according to his Survivor introduction reel.
Kay’s torch was snuffed out in 11th place in a double elimination episode.
An obituary from Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory says that his “desire to be challenged and his quest for adventure lead [sic] to participation” on the reality show.
Host Jeff Probst tweeted his condolences on behalf of the entire Survivor family.
I just heard the very sad news about the sudden loss of Dan Kay of Survivor: Gabon. The Survivor family sends our love to Dan's family.
— Jeff Probst (@JeffProbst) January 4, 2017
The 40-year-old is the fourth Survivor alum to die since the show’s premiere in 2000. (Jenn Lyon of Survivor: Palau, BB Andersen of the original Survivor and Survivor: Blood vs. Water contestant Caleb Bankston are the other three.)
His cause of death was not revealed to the public.
Kay leaves behind a girlfriend, two children, his sister and his mother.