'Big Brother': Here are the memorable contestants who have died

The past 22 seasons of 'Big Brother' have introduced fans to a range of colorful characters, but there have been a few losses along the way

                            'Big Brother': Here are the memorable contestants who have died
Cassandra Walden and William Kent Blackwelder (bigbrother.fandom.com/ CBS)

With a new season of 'Big Brother' finally here, get ready to be treated to a world of drama, chaos and possible romances. With Julie Chen reprising her role as the host, this show is one that has it all.

As Season 23 contestants make their way to the house, the past 22 seasons have introduced fans to a range of colorful characters. However, there have been a few losses and tragedies. Here are the 'Big Brother' housemates who have died.


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Although the US version is 22 seasons in, with Season 23 ongoing, there have only been two deaths among cast members thus far.

Cassandra Waldon

Season 1

Cassandra Waldon possibly has one of the most iconic 'firsts' to her name. She was the first contestant to walk into the 'Big Brother' home on Season 1 of the US version in 2000. Waldon worked with the UN and after her reality TV stint, she went back to her job as the director of communications for the International Fund for Agricultural Development. During her 'Big Brother' introduction, Walden explained what attracted her to participate in the show. "My work is very, very challenging, and rewarding, but I needed something exciting in my life," she said. "I've got to try this! I've got to see if I can do it!" she added. On her season, Waldon placed sixth.

How did she die?

Waldon, who worked for the United Nations in Rome, Italy, was struck by a car. She spent several weeks in a hospital. However, she did not regain consciousness. She died on September 25, 2019, at the age of 56. The show's host, Chen, took to Instagram and posted a touching tribute. "Rest In Peace Cassandra. Your light will continue to shine in this world because of the way you lived your life: with class and grace. May your family and loved ones find solace and peace. Thank you for bringing your intelligence, warmth and wisdom to the Big Brother house Season 1. You are in my thoughts and in my prayers. May God Bless your soul," the post read.


William Kent Blackwelder

Season 2

The first houseguest from Tennessee and the oldest on his season at 46, William Kent Blackwelder is known for having struck the most unlikely friendship with fellow housemate Bunky Miller, who was openly gay. Blackwelder, who was known to have conservative views, even allowed Miller to sleep in the Head of Household bed with him. Apart from his time on the show, Blackwelder was a mortgage broker. 

How did Blackwelder die?

As reported by Inquistr, he died of a heart attack on December 24, 2017. He was 62 at the time. He was also the first person from the US franchise to have died. Miller, who maintained a close friendship with Blackwelder even after the show, posted a message about how he visited Balckwelder at his home in Knoxville, Tennessee. He even spoke about how he was "proud and honored" when Blackwelder and his family joined him at the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus's Lavender Pen Tour in Knoxville.

He met Blackwelder last time in October and said that he "never dreamed" it would be the last meeting. He went on to say that although they were very different people, they "built a bridge" and came to understand and respect each other. 

William Kent Blackwelder (bigbrother.fandom.com/ CBS)


'Big Brother' Season 23 premieres on July 7 at 8/7c on CBS. The summer reality hit series will drop three episodes every week. Beginning July 11, the show will air on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the same time. For more information, check your local listings.