Big Brother contestant Cassandra Waldon has died at age 56.
The former reality TV contestant was a competitor on the first season of Big Brother, and was living and working in Rome when she passed.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Reportedly Died from Injuries Related to a Car Accident in Rome
According to TMZ, Waldon died from unspecified injuries related to a car accident in Rome, where she lived and worked.
The outlet reports that Waldon passed away on September 25. Her funeral will be held next weekend in her home state of Maryland.
In her Big Brother introduction, Waldon is remembered as saying, “My work is very, very challenging, and rewarding, but I needed something exciting in my life. I’ve got to try this! I’ve got to see if I can do it!” She added, “I have a lot of friends who are very supportive of me in my life, and I’m going to miss them.”
2. She Was the First ‘Big Brother’ Contestant to Enter the House
In the US version of the reality series, Waldon was the first contestant to enter the house.
She ultimately finished the season in sixth place. According to Big Brother’s Wiki page, Waldon was the first houseguest from Maryland. She was also the first houseguest to be eliminated, but temporarily came back due to a twist in the game.
Last week was the Season 21 finale of Big Brother, and Jackson Michie walked away the winner of the show. Early last month, CBS announced that the series will be coming back for Season 22. The new group of houseguests will enter the Big Brother house Summer 2020. Julie Chen will return as host.
3. Julie Chen Posted an Instagram about Waldon’s Passing
On Friday, Julie Chen, the host of Big Brother, posted a picture of Cassandra on Instagram.
She wrote, “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. ??”
Chen, an American TV personality, news anchor, and producer for CBS, has been the host of Big Brother since its debut in July 2000. She is the longest-serving host of any country’s version of the reality series.
4. She Worked at the UN
Cassandra worked at the UN as the Director of Communications for the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
In 2016, a woman named Donya Nasser wrote an article titled, “My Roman ‘Tour for Gender Equality'”. As a Youth Observer to the UN, Nasser interviewed American women in leadership positions. Waldon was one of the women she interviewed.
In the piece, Nasser writes, “My interview with Ms. Cassandra Waldon, Director of the Communications Division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), followed. She was an inspiration in many ways, but this advice was the most powerful for me: ‘When there are many different opportunities and you have to decide which path to go down on, it’s important to go where your passions lie and be okay when down the course of your career those passions change and stray from what you originally planned.'”
5. She Was Involved in the Car Accident 2 Months Ago
According to TMZ, Waldon was involved in a car accident about two months ago. She was reportedly “struck by a car” and suffered a head injury.
TMZ writes, “We’re told she never regained consciousness before her death” on September 25.
Fans of the reality series have mourned Waldon’s loss on social media. One person wrote, “The First Official Big Brother Houseguest: Cassandra Waldon Has Left This World. She Will Be Missed Greatly.” Another added, “RIP Cassandra Waldon who was one of the OG queens on BB1 and a Communications Director at the United Nations.”