CAMBODIA

French 'Survivor' doctors commits suicide after contestant dies

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 April, 2013, 3:03am
AFP

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The doctor for the French version of hit reality TV show Survivor has killed himself in Cambodia, saying in a suicide note that the media had "sullied" his name after a contestant in his care died of a heart attack.

"In recent days my name has been sullied in the media," Thierry Costa wrote in the note before committing suicide on Monday, just over a week after the death of 25-year-old Gerald Babin on a remote Cambodian island.

Costa, 38, complained of "unfair accusations" against him in the note obtained from Media Medic, the subcontractor that provided the doctor for the popular Koh Lanta series by Adventure Line Productions (ALP).

Costa had been Koh Lanta's emergency physician for four seasons, ALP said, adding: "Everyone admired his great professionalism with the participants and the production staff."

Babin died of a heart attack on the first day of filming on the tropical island of Koh Rong on March 22, prompting French broadcaster TF1 to axe the show's 2013 season, its 16th. It was the first death in any French reality TV programme.

Costa said in his handwritten suicide note that he was "sure of having treated Gerald in a respectable way, as a patient and not as a contestant".

He added: "Even though I regret this unhappy end, I acted in conformity with the Hippocratic Oath."

ALP said Costa administered emergency care to Babin when he complained of cramps during one of the challenges before the contestant was airlifted to hospital in nearby Sihanoukville, where he died.

French authorities have opened a preliminary enquiry into "involuntary homicide", while Cambodian authorities have determined Babin died of natural causes.