St. John, 52, played character Neil Winters for almost 28 years on the long-running soap. The Los Angeles Police Department responded to an “incident” on Sunday in San Fernando Valley, Calif., and a person at the scene, later determined to be St. John, was pronounced dead. LAPD officer Rosario Cervantes said on Monday that he may have died from a “possible alcohol overdose.”
“We worked together for nearly 30 years,” said Braeden. “He was a wonderful actor, great to work with, bright and empathic, but he carried so many things in his heart and soul, especially after the terrible death of his son. I don’t think he ever got over it, and I don’t think he ever fully dealt with it. He tried to. Publicly, he had a good demeanour and a good life. But I think the pain was deep; very, very deep. And I think it was too much to live with.”
Members of the Y&R cast, past and present, including St. John’s longtime costar Victoria Rowell (who played his character’s love interest) and Shemar Moore (who played Neil’s brother, Malcolm) shared their sadness on social media.
Ain’t no mountain high enough, to keep me from you, my beloved @kristoffstjohn1 —though denied for a decade, you never stopped requesting for us to be reunited @CBSDaytime @Sony pushing for #Diversity @YandR_CBS . True #BlackHistoryMonth #IDreamBlack history. Eternally I LOVE you
— Victoria Rowell (@victoriarowell) February 4, 2019
Remembering Kristoff ST. John 🙏 RIP, my friend. pic.twitter.com/91fr7r3j5a
— sharon case (@sharonlcase) February 4, 2019
I’ve been thinking for awhile what to say. How to express my love and gratitude for Kristoff in my life. I don’t know if I can ever fully express how my heart feels. I’m so heartbroken.… https://t.co/fGsF0miSza
— Christel Khalil (@ChristelAdnana) February 5, 2019
KRISTOFF ST JOHN………. The most popular, Iconic, African American Soap Star EVER!!!!! …… GIVE HIM THAT…… He EARNED IT!!!! …….. I LOVE YOU Stoff!!! There’s NO me without… https://t.co/yOkcBr6aaI
— Shemar Moore (@shemarmoore) February 5, 2019
RIP……. “This ain’t goodbye Brother… Watch me make you proud!! We will be together again… I LOVE YOU Kristoff!!! Just go chill out and watch me carry YOUR torch” 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥❤️👊🏾😎 https://t.co/SlE3weOmXh
— Shemar Moore (@shemarmoore) February 5, 2019
Braeden, too, posted a photo to social media.
My good friend and colleague, MY BROTHA, KRISTOFF ST.JOHN , passed away!! No words right now!! pic.twitter.com/um3RVtQYPh
— Eric Braeden (@EBraeden) February 4, 2019
“They are devastated, really devastated,” said Braeden of the cast. “Kristoff was more than a nice guy, people loved him. He was a fundamentally nice man, and always there for people. He was just a man with soul. This will have a deep effect on all of us. The more you think about it, the sadder you become, the more you realize the effect he had on other people.”
The soap star’s last-ever episode aired Tuesday in Canada, and will air Wednesday in the U.S. CBS announced that Y&R will air a “special tribute” to St. John during Thursday’s episode in Canada, which will air on Friday in the U.S.
The network also released a statement about St. John’s passing.
“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. 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.”
St. John was recently engaged to model Kseniya Olegovna Mikhaleva, and the couple had planned a wedding for the fall.
His ex-wife, Mia St. John, claimed he had immense difficulty coming to terms with his son’s death at age 24, and underwent psychiatric treatment in 2017 after a reported mental-health scare. (TMZ reports that St. John threatened to kill himself, and was placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.)
“I want the world to know the truth about what is happening with Kristoff, because currently there is inaccurate, and fabricated information being reported by certain online outlets,” she said at the time. “No parent should ever have to bury their child, and for those who do, it is a nightmare that haunts you forever. The death of our beloved son Julian has taken a toll on both of us. He is an actor and while he may appear whole on the outside, his heart is broken. As a society, we need to start taking mental health seriously and realize that no one is immune.”
A few weeks ago, St. John posted a Twitter reply about how hard it is to lose a child — his last posting to the website.
Never a truer word was spoke. Thanks for posting this.
— Kristoff St John (@kristoffstjohn1) January 22, 2019
In a now-deleted tweet that Mia posted on Monday morning, she seemed to blame the hospital for St. John’s passing.
“THAT HOSPITAL KILLED OUR SON @TheArtofJulian THEN MY HUSBAND @kristoffstjohn1 THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED! THEY KILLED MY FAMILY,” it read.
“He was such a vital, strong character, and obviously haunted by demons,” Braeden said to The Daily Beast. “But he was so full of humour and he was such a good man. In lonely moments when you’re all by yourself, what goes through your head? Who knows?”
St. John leaves behind two daughters, Paris Nicole and Lola.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.