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The Tragic Fear Factor Death You Didn't Know About

Watching "Fear Factor" always makes you kind of wonder: Has anyone ever died on this show? It all started when the original series hit the small screen in 2001, and while each subsequent iteration had its own spin, the franchise steadily supplied a stream of eager contestants willing to do just about anything to win. Get tear-gassed? Bring it. Drink donkey urine? Yessiree. Be buried alive? Yeah, sure. What could go wrong?

Obviously, some "Fear Factor" challenges were more gag-worthy, while others actually threatened the lives of contestants, who sometimes barely made it out of the show alive. When the original series was canceled in 2006, low ratings (and a more nauseating aspect of the above donkey stunt) took the blame. The reboot in 2011 died a quick death after just one year. And in 2017, MTV scooped up "Fear Factor" for another short run before canceling the show after two seasons. Whether they won or lost, contestants throughout the series shared a common fate: They survived.

But that doesn't mean the show came and went without consequences. At least one viewer attempted a lawsuit against NBC for grossing him out to such a degree that he became sick and dizzy and hurt himself. (A judge tossed the suit.) Far worse, however, was a tragedy that occurred early on, during the run of the original "Fear Factor."

Fear Factor inspired copycats

In the beginning, "Fear Factor" was a fresh and exciting American version of the original Dutch show "Now or Neverland." It gained a strong following out of the gate — much to comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan's surprise. According to BroBible, he was blunt with NBC execs when he signed on to host the show. "This is the most insane idea for a television show that I've ever heard," Rogan said. "This is going to be canceled immediately,"

But of course, it wasn't. The series initially earned high ratings before losing viewers after the fourth season. In that window between popularity and cancellation, the original "Fear Factor" became a phenomenon, inspiring dangerous copycat events. In 2005, Thailand's Bangkok Trade and Exhibition Centre hosted a "Fear Factor"-inspired event and brought in rising pop singer Vaikoon Boonthanom to take part, according to IOL. Boonthanom died of brain injuries after being hit with a barrel during a stunt.

While the Thai event wasn't officially linked to the show, this tragedy never would have occurred without its influence. It's the best reason of all for those who hope "Fear Factor" is finally gone for good.