Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Reality show doctor kills himself

A French reality show's doctor has killed himself following the death of one of the contestants

A doctor on a French version of a tough reality show has committed suicide following the death of a contestant last month.

Dr.Thierry Costa killed himself on location for the series based on the US hit Survivor on an island in Cambodia. Dr Costa, 38, had blamed the press for damaging his professional reputation in a handwritten suicide note..

It was the second death in as many weeks to hit the prime-time "Koh-Lanta" show.

The first was a 25-year-old contestant, Gerald Babin, who died on March 22 during the first day of filming for the show's 2013 season. Mr Babin went to Dr Costa to get treated for mysterious cramps he had during the first tropical challenge, thought to be a tug-of-war, but died in a hospital soon after following a heart attack, according to French broadcaster TF1, which puts out the show.

An inquiry into "involuntary homicide" was launched by a French prosecutor's office into the death and TF1 immediately cancelled the show's season.

But controversy over the death grew. Anonymous comments appeared in French media accusing Dr Costa and production company Adventure Line Productions of negligence that contributed to Mr Babin's death - charges that they denied.

Dr Costa's suicide note addressed the allegations. These last few days my name has been smeared in the media. Unjust accusations and assumptions were uttered against me," he wrote on notepaper from the hotel where the "Koh-Lanta" team was staying. "Having to rebuild this destroyed reputation seems unbearable to me, so this is my only possible choice."

TF1 said it "shares the pain" of Dr Costa's family. dventure Line Productions issued a statement expressing its "consternation" over the suicide. This tragic event must push those who irresponsibly accused and commented to come out and take responsibility," it said.

In his suicide note, Costa's last wish was to be cremated in Cambodia so that his body never has to return to France.

In 2009, a contestant of the Bulgarian version of "Survivor" died of a heart attack while filming on an island beach in the Philippines.

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