Big Brother contestant Cassandra Walden has died after a car crash in Rome, Italy on September 25. She was 56.
TMZ reports that the Maryland native was hit by a car two months ago while in Rome working at the United Nations as its Director of Communications for the International Fund for Agricultural Development. She passed away after suffering an unspecified head injury from the car accident.
Walden was the first houseguest to walk into the Big Brother house on season 1 of the CBS reality competition show in July 2000. She also became the first contestant to fall victim to the show’s infamous “first to enter curse,” as she finished in sixth place. So far, the first person has never won the game.
Host Julie Chen Moonves celebrated Walden’s memory with a tribute on Instagram on Friday, October 4. The post included a picture of the funeral program and an older photo of Walden when she appeared on Big Brother.
“Rest In Peace Cassandra,” the former The Talk cohost wrote. “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.”
Fans of the series also mourned her death on social media. One fan 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.”