What Happened to Terry’s Son on Survivor

On this day, five years ago, October 28, 2015, an episode of Survivor: Cambodia, the 31st season of the show, aired where Jeff Probst had to deliver devastating news to one of the players. He came to camp to inform Terry Deitz that Deitz’s son Danny had been hospitalized. In case you don’t recall the details, here is an update on what happened and how his son is doing.

Probst Wakes Deitz Up with Serious News

In episode six of season 31, titled “Bunking With the Devil,” the show opened with Probst arriving at the Ta Keo tribe’s camp to inform Terry Deitz, the retired U.S. Navy pilot who previously played on Survivor: Panama, that his son, Danny, was in the hospital.

Probst woke Deitz up in the tribe’s shelter, emphasizing the urgency of the situation. “I just received a phone call from your wife, and your son Danny is in the hospital. Both your wife and the doctor think it’s serious enough that you should go home to be involved,” said Probst, leaving Deitz stunned. “I know this is a shock, waking you up in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t serious.”

Without hesitation, Deitz agreed, saying, “No question. I’ll go back, grab my bag, and inform everyone. Then we’ll go.”

Back with the tribe, Deitz shared the news about his son, and they all gave him heartfelt hugs and bid him farewell. “I appreciate each and every one of you. You’ve helped me pursue another dream, and I couldn’t have done it with better people,” he expressed before leaving.

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During a private interview, fellow tribemate Kass McQuillen became emotional as she remarked, “I think you have to be a parent to understand how devastating it would be to be out here and receive a call that your child is sick and you need to get home… I just can’t imagine. Having someone leave like this is worse than a medi-vac, it’s worse than anything you can imagine in Survivor. It serves as a reminder of how quickly things can change.”

Danny’s Journey Towards a Heart Transplant

In the spring of 2015, 16-year-old Danny started encountering breathing difficulties, weight loss, and fatigue even while climbing stairs. Seeking medical attention, he received a diagnosis of a rare genetic form of cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease.

Danny eventually required a heart transplant. He underwent multiple open-heart surgeries and, finally, a successful transplant.

“He’s been granted a second chance. We are overwhelmed by all the support we received from our community, all the support we received not only from the people on this season of Survivor but from everyone who sent prayers and thoughts,” shared Deitz, adding, “Without that, it would have been impossible to make it through.”

Following his recovery, Danny graduated from high school and began attending college in San Diego. He even embarked on a modeling career, posing for Sperry and Mercedes. Currently, he is a junior at California State University, Chico, expected to graduate in 2022.

In 2019, Deitz tweeted about his son, saying, “Love your kids like there’s no tomorrow. Literally, the best thing I’ve ever achieved.”

Survivor aims to film season 41 in spring 2021, with a planned fall 2021 premiere.

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