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French 'Survivor' doctor commits suicide after contestant dies of heart attack

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/02/2013 

Thierry Costa, a staff doctor on Koh-Lanta, the France's version of Survivor, committed suicide on Monday after allegations that he was partially responsible for the death of a contestant were published by French media outlets.

Costa killed himself 10 days after Koh-Lanta contestant Gerald Babin died from a heart attack in Cambodia on the first day of taping the show's twelfth season, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, the 38-year-old doctor acted out of frustration following publicized "false accusations" against him.  

A Koh-Lanta production source reportedly went to French media outlets late last week and made allegations that Costa and the show's producers had failed to recognize the urgency of Babin's medical problem and provide treatment as quickly as possible.

"In recent days my name has been sullied in the media," Costa wrote in a handwritten suicide note he left behind, claiming his reputation had been damaged due to the unnamed source's accusations.

Costa's family reportedly approved the publication of the letter, which was released by the show's Adventure Line Productions production company and reprinted in the French newspaper Le Parisien, at Costa's request.

"Unjust accusations and assumptions have been made against me," the doctor wrote, according to The Reporter. "I am sure I treated Gerald with respect as a patient and not as a contestant."

Babin, 25, reportedly died on his way to a hospital after competing in two physical challenges. He collapsed with arm pain on the beach and but was allegedly only treated on the scene nine minutes later as to not interrupt shooting. Babin was then reportedly taken to a local hospital nearly two hours later via boat because an emergency helicopter was considered "too costly."

Adventure Line Productions also released a statement following the news of Costa's death.

"We have learned with dismay that Dr. Thierry Costa passed away in Cambodia today," the production company said of the doctor who had been with the Survivor spinoff for four seasons. "His high level of professionalism and humanity towards participants and production teams has always been unanimously recognized."

Babin's family has announced they plan to file a civil lawsuit in which they will seek damages on the basis of "illegal conditions" and "breaches of health and safety," The Reporter reported.  French officials have also reportedly begun an investigation that could potentially include manslaughter charges.      

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