Actor Kristoff St. John attends the 10th-anniversary celebration of ‘The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil’ on July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo: Gabe Ginsberg (Getty Images)

Very heartbreaking news—longtime critically acclaimed soap opera star Kristoff St. John has been found dead. The actor, who was best known for his role as Neil Winters on The Young and the Restless, was 52 years old.

According to TMZ, a friend went to check on the actor in his San Fernando Valley home and found him unresponsive. St. John was pronounced dead on the scene once paramedics and police arrived.

St. John began portraying the beloved Neil—and solidifying his spot as a major celebrity crush for many fans—on the hit soap opera in 1991. For the role, he got nine Daytime Emmy Award nominations and 10 NAACP Image Awards.

No cause of death has been confirmed at this time. The actor and his ex-wife, international boxing champion Mia St. John, tragically lost their son Julian to suicide in 2014. The incident occurred while he was under the care of a mental health facility. Kristoff and Mia sued the facility, which concluded in a settlement.

The former couple was inspired to start the El Saber Es Poder (Knowledge Is Power) Foundation in order to provide resources for those suffering from mental health issues.

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In 2017, around the third anniversary of his son’s death, Kristoff threatened to kill himself, prompting police to place the actor under a 72-hour hold for psychiatric evaluation.

The Root has reached out to St. John’s team for comment. Rest in power, Mr. St. John.

Update: 2/4/2019, 2:39 p.m. ET:

The tragic news of St. John’s death has sparked an outpouring of love and support from celebrities who both knew him and were fans of his work.

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His Young and the Restless co-star, Victoria Powell (Drucilla Winters) reminisced on St. John’s push to reunite the epic couple onscreen.

Other notable tributes came from fellow actors, Viola Davis and Yvette Nicole Brown.

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