LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork/CBS Los Angeles/AP) – “Young and the Restless” star Kristoff St. John, who played Neil Winters on the soap opera for the last 27 years, was found dead Sunday.
It’s a shocking loss for his fans and fans of the show.
St. John had played cosmetic company executive Neil Winters on the CBS soap opera since 1991, earning nine daytime Emmy nominations. A fan favorite, he won a Daytime Emmy in 1992 for outstanding younger actor in a drama series and won 10 NAACP Image Awards.
WEB EXTRA: Take a look back at St. John through the years in this photo gallery.
“The news of Kristoff St. John’s passing is heartbreaking. He was a very talented actor and an even better person. For those of us who were fortunate enough to work with him on ‘The Young and the Restless’ for the last 27 years, he was a beloved friend whose smile and infectious laugh made every day on set a joy and made audiences love him,” CBS Television Network and Sony Pictures Television said in a statement. “On behalf of the Y&R cast and crew, CBS and Sony Pictures Television, we offer our heartfelt sympathy to his family and loved ones, especially his two daughters, Paris and Lola.”
The New York City native was the longest running African-American actor in the show’s history, but he wasn’t new to acting when he landed the job. He got his start as a child, appearing on shows like “Happy Days” and “The Bad News Bears.” As a teenager, he had memorable guest spots on sitcoms like “The Cosby Show.”
He also did a short stint on the soap opera “Generations” before joining Y&R.
He announced in September that he was engaged to model Kseniya Mikhaleva.
St. John was twice married and divorced and was the father of a son and two daughters. His 24-year-old son, Julian, committed suicide in 2014. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and killed himself while staying at a mental health rehabilitation facility.
A heartbroken St. John told Entertainment Tonight about the phone call that changed his life.
“That call was the worst call I ever got in my. I knew when I got it he was dead,” he said.
By many accounts, that event sent the actor down a destructive path. St. John threatened to kill himself in 2017 around the anniversary of his son’s death. He was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at that time.
On Jan. 21, St. John retweeted “Grieving the loss of a child is a process. It begins on the day your child passes, and ends the day the parent joins them.”
On Sunday, a friend reportedly went to visit the actor at his California home and found his lifeless body.
Early reports indicate there were no signs of foul play, but a cause of death has not been released.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)