The former Survivor contestant was killed when a train he was on derailed Tuesday. He was employed at the Alabama Warrior Railway in Birmingham, but it is unknown if the accident was work-related.
Bankston is survived by Colton Cumbie, his fiancé and friendly rival on Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Bankston ended up placing ninth in the season, while Cumbie came in at nineteenth.
"Caleb was an amazing man and friend," fellow contestant Aras Baskauskas tells People. "One of the sweetest and most sincere humans I've ever come across. I am gutted by his loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Sabrina Thompson, who competed with Cumbie on Survivor: One World, adds, "While playing Survivor with Colton, he would talk about his boyfriend, Caleb, around the clock 24/7. Within seconds of meeting Caleb at the finale and Survivor events, it's no wonder why he raved about him. You were instantly drawn to his big smile, warm spirit and Southern charm."
Bankston is the third Survivor contestant to die in recent years. Jenn Lyon, who placed fourth on Survivor: Palau, died from breast cancer in 2010, and original Survivor contestant BB Andersen died of brain cancer last year.