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'Survivor: Fiji' winner Earl Cole welcomes first child with wife Shelley Lee


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/14/2017 

Survivor Fiji winner Earl Cole is a new dad, and he couldn't be more thrilled or proud.

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Earl and wife Shelley Lee's baby girl, whom the couple named Kaia JoAnn Cole, was born on November 10 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, CA, People reported.

When Kaia arrived, she reportedly weighed eight pounds and 14 ounces, and she measured 20.5 inches long.

"Kaia means 'ocean' in Hawaiian," Earl told People of her creative name.

"My wife, Shelley, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and we got married on the island of Kauai seven years ago. Her middle name, JoAnn, is the first name of my mother who passed away this year from early Alzheimer's -- the day before we found out we were pregnant."

The loss of Earl's mother at age 73 on March 2 was devastating for the 2007 Survivor castaway because the pair were extremely close.

Earl even paid tribute to his mom in a film documentary called LADY J: The JoAnn Kendall Story that he created with Emmy Award-winning editor Michael Griffin, according to the magazine.

"It really documents what Alzheimer's does to people and their families," Earl explained.

But Earl probably receives daily comfort now by looking into his daughter's eyes. He revealed that Kaia is a healthy "miracle baby."

"It took us seven years to get to this point. We are super excited for baby No. 1!" Earl admitted of the pair's journey to parenthood. "We feel that my mother's spirit -- she was a healer and a hero -- helped make it all happen."

Earl ironically referenced the name of Survivor's current 35th season on CBS, Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.

"Kaia is her first and only grand-daughter who she always wanted, but never got a chance to meet!" he added.

Earl never saw his name written down on a Tribal Council parchment during Survivor's entire fourteenth season -- that is until the finale, when he received all nine votes from the jury, allowing him to unanimously defeat Cassandra Franklin and Andria "Dreamz" Herd and emerge as the $1,000,000 winner.


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