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The Challenge Stars You Might Not Know Passed Away

"The Challenge" has remained one of MTV's preeminent reality series ever since it first debuted in 1998. Sometimes the cast members are exclusive to "The Challenge," while in other instances, contestants are drawn from other series. In the past, this has included the ranks of "The Real World," "The Amazing Race," and "Big Brother." After being divided into teams, they're all given a series of intense challenges to overcome, and whoever is left standing at the end of the final challenge splits the grand prize.

It's an engaging series that takes the best out of the most adventurous young people out there. But sadly, even young people in great physical shape aren't immune from death. Over the years, the show has lost several of its former cast members, and here's what you need to know about all of the men and women who brought entertainment to millions of TV screens.

Diem Brown

Diem Brown is one of the most famous individuals to compete on "The Challenge." She joined the series for its 12th season, subtitled "Fresh Meat." It was noteworthy for being the first season to have contestants who did not appear previously on other reality shows. However, reality hit Brown shortly after she was confirmed to appear on the series when she was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. 

She didn't let that get in the way of her competing on the show, and she went on to become a regular fixture on the series. While many people would allow a medical diagnosis to get in the way of their dreams, Brown persevered, as she said in an interview with Glamour, "I knew that if cancer kept me from going, I'd be so depressed heading into treatment. My doctor gave me some rules, but he said I could do whatever I felt up for. I know it sounds cheesy, but I felt doing the show would give me the strength to get through cancer."

Despite treatment and a brief remission, the cancer returned in 2014. Brown died in November of that year at the age of 34.

Michelle Parma

Michelle Parma appeared on a single season of "The Challenge" in 2001, but the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader was previously an alumnus on "Road Rules: Europe." Just a year after her "Challenge" appearance, she tragically lost her life in a car accident.

According to a statement put out by MTV, Parma was traveling with her cousin on Interstate 45 when another motorist lost control of their vehicle, crossing the median and striking Parma's car head-on. Parma's vehicle then hit another car. Both Michelle and her cousin, Mandie, were reported dead at the scene, but no other serious injuries were reported from the other motorists involved. Later, Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, who served as creators and executive producers on "Road Rules" released the following statement: "Michelle had a spirit about her that just pulled you in. She was one of the nicest, most genuine people to ever be on one of our reality shows. We will all miss her terribly."

Ryan Knight

Ryan Knight appeared on three seasons of "The Challenge" after showing up on "The Real World: New Orleans." He died shortly after filming for "Battle of the Exes II." On November 28, 2014, the Kenosha, Wisconsin police department released a statement detailing his death and how he was found deceased at a friend's house, non-responsive and not breathing. After a toxicology report, TMZ reported how Knight's official cause of death was ruled as an accidental overdose with alcohol and multiple types of drugs in his system, including Xanax, cocaine, tramadol, and methadone. He was 29 years old.

Knight's death was all the more tragic as it occurred within the same month as the passing of Diem Brown. When "Battle of the Exes II" aired shortly thereafter, it was dedicated to the memory of both Brown and Knight. His former castmates chimed in on social media to let their feelings known, like Jemmye Carroll writing, "Words will never be enough to justify the connection we shared and the pain I will forever feel."

Danny Dias

Danny Dias, who appeared on "Road Rules" Season 13 and "The Challenge: The Gauntlet 2," died at the age of 34 in 2017. PEOPLE reported on his death, saying how he was found surrounded by hallucinogenic drugs as well as lacerations on his wrists on June 4 when authorities received a call about an unresponsive person; he was pronounced dead at the scene. It was later ruled that his cause of death was "complications of chronic substance abuse," with the marks on his wrist ultimately not contributing to his death.

An MTV spokesperson reached out to PEOPLE to put out a statement regarding the death: "We are saddened by the news of Danny Dias' passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time." Additionally, Bunim/Murray Productions released the following statement: "Our thoughts are with the Dias family during this difficult time. Danny was a beloved member of the 'Road Rules' community."