Jenn Lyon's Impact on Survivor Ethan Zohn

While a special Ethan Zohn cam at the Jan. 9 Survivor 10-year anniversary party in L.A. was set up so well-wishers could send greetings to the Africa winner – who was on the East Coast recuperating from a stem-cell transplant for a rare form of Hodgkin’s disease – Zohn’s friend from the Palau season, Jenn Lyon, was receiving visitors in a small room, fragile from her weakening battle against breast cancer.

INSIDE STORY: Jennifer Lyon's Cancer Battle

As a contestant on Survivor: Palau, blonde and beautiful nanny Jenn Lyon used her wit and engaging demeanor to survive for 37 of 39 days, finishing in fourth place. Although she didn’t win the big prize, she did secure a lifetime of friendships – a reward that would comfort her in the years following the May 2005 finale, as she waged a five year battle with breast cancer.

That hard-fought struggle to survive ended Tuesday, when Lyon died at the age of 37.

Survivor: Palau Contestant Jennifer Lyon Dies at 37

Jennifer Lyon, who placed fourth on Survivor: Palau in 2005, died at her home in Oregon Tuesday night, PEOPLE has confirmed. She was 37.

The reality TV star was first diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer a few months after she wrapped Survivor, and opted for a modified, radical bilateral mastectomy, followed by courses of chemotherapy and tamoxifen, a drug used to prevent recurrence.