In Memoriam

‘Survivor' Contestant Sunday Burquest Dead at 50 After Cancer Battle

A devout Christian, Burquest wrote a book about her health journey, titled "Grit Girl: Power to Survive Inspired by Grace." She previously survived a fight against breast cancer

Sunday Burquest
Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

"Survivor" contestant Sunday Burquest has died. She was 50.

The pastor, who appeared on "Survivor: Millennials vs. Generation X" in 2016, was diagnosed with esophageal and ovarian cancer last year. She took to social media last June to declare she intended to beat the disease, just as she had survived breast cancer just eight years prior. A devout Christian, Burquest wrote a book about her health journey, titled "Grit Girl: Power to Survive Inspired by Grace."

Showing off a shirt that read, "I survived esophageal and ovarian cancer," Burquest explained in an Instagram video at the time, "It's not a super great thing, of course, and not fun to hear, but I will say that I do know that I have already survived cancer once and I will survive it again, which is why I'm wearing this shirt and saying right now I survived it."

Burquest, whose doctors only gave her a few months to live, told "People" at the time, "No one knows how much time you have left. Accidents can happen. Miracles can happen. Someone healthy can die unexpectedly, and someone sick can live for much longer than expected. So I don't think of this as a death sentence; I think of this as something that has happened, and is now a part of my life. And I'm going to live my life as fully as I can."

In an April 18 Instagram post, Burquest's lookalike daughter Kennedy Burquest shared several photos of herself and her mom, along with a lengthy caption about her passing.

"To my unbelievably beautiful mama," she began. "Thank you. Thank you for fighting as hard as you did for as long as you did. Thank you for being a best friend, a role model, a sister, and my mother all in one. Thank you for raising me to love Jesus, and show that love to others. That's something you did so well."

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Kennedy continued, "It breaks my heart to know you will never get to see me on my wedding day, or be there when I have my first kid. But I know you're watching over me. Although it hurts me so bad to watch you go, I'm so happy you are happy again. I'm happy you get to be with Jesus, and see your dad. I'm happy you aren't in pain anymore. I'm happy I got to have these past few months with you."

She shared that she "loved" taking care of her mom during these last few months, and that the "Survivor" star was her "favorite patient."

"I love you to heaven and back a million times," she concluded. "I know one day we will meet again. Until then, I'll spend every minute missing you, and trying to make you proud. Rest easy mom, I'll see you soon."

Burquest's peers took to Twitter to express their condolences.

"Big Brother's" Evel Dick tweeted, "Sunday and I were polar opposites in so many ways, but we got along anyhow. Sunday did my show a few times and I really liked her. I am so sad to hear of her death &my heart goes out to her family. RIP Sunday."

"Survivor's" Rob Cesternino wrote, "I am so sad today to learn about the passing of Sunday Burquest. She got dealt a number of terrible blows from life but she remained the most positive person you could ever know. I will never forget how brave she was in her fight."

Peih-Gee Law of "Survivor: China" and "Survivor: Cambodia" shared, "Sunday was one of the only people in the world that could 'mom' me in a way that put me at peace. She was a vibrant part of our Survivor family. I loved having game nights with her. You will truly be missed."

Jonny Fairplay added, "Rest In Peace to one of the greatest souls I've had the honor to call a friend. We all love you @sundaysurvivor thank you for being in our lives."

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