06:19 PM EDT 04/07/2015
Originally posted 03/24/2015 11:25PM
Though MTV's The Challenge is a reality competition known for putting its competitors through insane physical tests, Battle of the Exes II was, without a doubt, the most emotionally taxing installment of the game in series history.
Very early in the show's 26th season, which began filming in Panama last August, fan favorite Diem Brown had to be medically evacuated to New York City, where she ultimately lost her third bout with cancer on Nov. 14 at the age of 34.
Less than two weeks later, Brown's castmate Ryan Knight was found dead on Thanksgiving morning after a night of partying.
Though both Brown and Knight died after the series wrapped filming, the show's winners – who spoke exclusively to PEOPLE after they were revealed on Tuesday night – couldn't help but acknowledge how their friends' deaths shed new light on their own victory and the season as a whole.
For those who haven't watched the Battle of the Exes II finale, be warned there are spoilers ahead.
Originally posted 01/27/2015 02:00PM
[BRIGHTCOVE "4013351125001" "" "" "auto"]
Two months after The Challenge cast member Ryan Knight died, many of his friends and competitors are celebrating his life on an after show following Tuesday's episode.
News of Knight's Nov. 27 death was a second devastating blow for this season, Battle of the Exes 2, after castmate Diem Brown lost her third fight against cancer just weeks earlier, on Nov. 14.
In keeping with Knight's polarizing personality both on The Challenge and in 2010's The Real World: New Orleans, castmates are simultaneously shaken and amused by the tribute video, previewed exclusively by PEOPLE.
Originally posted 01/21/2015 11:45AM
Tuesday's episode of Battle of the Exes 2 saw Brown, 34, sidelined by the excruciating pain she would later learn was colon cancer. After an overnight stay, the pain returned, forcing her to be medically evacuated from the competition.
Accompanying shots of her flight from Panama to New York City, where she underwent surgery and months of treatment before dying on Nov. 14, Brown began her final words on the show: "I'm at a point in my life where I want to just live life."
Originally posted 01/06/2015 03:30PM
[BRIGHTCOVE "3972198267001" "" "" "auto"] The new season of The Challenge: Battle of the Exes 2 seems set to be a somber one as two cast members, Diem Brown and Ryan Knight, have died since the season filmed. But, in an exclusive clip from the opener, Brown proves her brief run on Exes 2 would be as poignant and positive as ever.
In this exclusive clip, Brown, who had already battled ovarian cancer twice, shares that winning the competition would help her afford a surrogate to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a mother.
Brown was medically evacuated from her eighth stint on the show before ultimately losing her third battle against cancer on Nov. 14.
Originally posted 12/09/2014 02:10PM
[YOUTUBE "zCIAbjrHCL0&feature=youtu.be"] Diem Brown loved to dance.
Originally posted 11/24/2014 04:00PM
Diem Brown chronicled her lengthy cancer battle with candor and courage, opening up about everything from her hair loss to her darkest days.
Originally posted 11/22/2014 12:50PM
She was a reality TV star whose winning personality and zest for life drew intense interest. And PEOPLE readers were just as inspired by Diem Brown as she bravely battled cancer, finally losing her fierce fight surrounded by the love of friends and family.
Originally posted 11/21/2014 06:55PM
Diem Brown never believed it was over.
Not when doctors told her that cancer had spread everywhere in her body.
Not when they advised that she had, at most, 30 days to live.
Not even when they suspended all treatment and told her there were no further options.
Originally posted 11/19/2014 02:00PM
The late reality star and cancer activist wanted to share her fight and inspire others
Originally posted 11/20/2014 12:00PM
[YOUTUBE "FdbtKoLCik4&app=desktop"] From sweet baby photos to inspiring moments from her cancer fight, Diem Brown was memorialized in a touching montage shown at her funeral on Tuesday.
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
The Duggars Respond to Reports That Josh Duggar Was Accused of Child Molestation
Read Josh Duggar's Full Resignation Letter to the Family Research Council
D.C. Authorities Name Suspect in Mansion Murders That Killed 4 After Finding DNA on Pizza Crust
Missouri Woman Who Said Boyfriend Kept Her in a Box Is Found Dead
Police: Suspect in D.C. Mansion Murders Knew the Family, Previously Worked for CEO's Company
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!