Last week, fans of The Young and the Restless were stunned by the tragic news that star Kristoff St. John had died at age 52.
St. John, who had played Neil Winters on the long-running soap opera since 1991, was found dead on February 3 at his home in San Fernando Valley, California by a friend.
This week, TMZ reported that St. John will be laid to rest in a very meaningful way, buried next to his late son Julian at a California cemetery.
St. John’s friends and co-stars say the actor had struggled since losing Julian to suicide in 2014, when he was just 24.
The TV star’s final message to fans was a tweet he shared from another user, “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.”
Before his death, St. John had struggled with suicidal thoughts, and was even put on a psychiatric hold after threatening to take his life in 2017.
While things seemed to be looking up for St. John – he was engaged to model Kseniya Mikhaleva at the time of his death – his co-stars suggested the actor never fully recovered from the loss of his son.
Eric Braeden, who plays Victor Newman on Y&R, said that St. John had “succumbed” to his depression after Julian’s death.
“He was deeply, deeply caring about his son and deeply wounded by his son’s death,” Braeden told People.
“How do you live with the death of your son or your child? It’s unimaginable, I don’t even want to go there. As soon as you begin to empathize with that and begin to think about that, you understand his pain.”
While his friends and family are set to mourn St. John, CBS also announced they would tape a new tribute to the late star, after fans were dissatisfied with the first one.
The minute-long segment, which aired last Friday, featured a new interview clip with St. John discussing his time on Y&R.
Today and every day we remember an unforgettable member of the #YR family. From his time in Genoa City to the moments behind-the-scenes on set, Kristoff St. John will always be in our hearts. ❤️ Please join us in sending love to the incredible man behind Neil Winters. pic.twitter.com/9QrLzhCQPs
— Young and Restless (@YandR_CBS) February 8, 2019
“It feels like a real accomplishment,” he said. “I’ve been a part of something that will somehow be in a time capsule… and I’m part of that? Yeah, I’m one of the brothas on The Young and the Restless, I’m one of the sons. I’m one of the family members. I was there. Yeah, man, Neil Winters was an integral part.”
St. John also thanked fans for “sharing in this adventure, this mighty ship that has sailed for so long. I love you.”
While the clip made many viewers emotional, some felt let down by what they expected to be an entire episode devoted to St. John’s time on the show.
“Wait. After 20 years that’s all the tribute CBS could muster up?” one annoyed viewer wrote.
ICYMI: The CBS Daytime Family will always value the legacy of Kristoff St. John and Neil Winters. A story will begin airing in late April where @YandR_CBS will pay tribute to both Kristoff and his beloved character, Neil Winters. Today’s tribute during #YR is only the beginning. pic.twitter.com/1F311Y1sif
— CBS Daytime (@CBSDaytime) February 8, 2019
Following the backlash, a representative for CBS told USA Today that the soap would feature “a storyline that pays tribute to both Kristoff and his character” sometime in April.
“The Young and the Restless will forever value the legacy of Kristoff St. John,” the show said.
St. John’s cause of death has not been released as an additional investigation continues following his autopsy.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can receive free, confidential help 24 hours a day by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.