Former General Hospital Stars Who Have Tragically Passed Away

The following article mentions suicide, addiction, and mental health struggles.

If you are a soap opera fan, chances are you are loyal to a fault. It is easy to have an emotional attachment to characters that you grew up with, or even those that might resemble you or a loved one in some way or another. It can be incredibly sad to see a favorite actor (and favorite character) leave the show. "General Hospital" in particular has done an incredible job of casting actors that give tremendous life to characters we know and love, which makes saying goodbye to them that much harder.

The stars of the longest-running soap opera in daytime TV history are more than aware of their fans' connection to their characters. "'General Hospital's fans are fiercely loyal, and I think, because these characters appear in their homes each weekday, year after year, they truly feel a connection to us personally," Leslie Charleson, aka Monica Quartermaine, once told FBJFit. "I once had a fan come up to me to introduce me to her friend, before she realized that I hadn't actually met her before either!"

The "General Hospital" universe has introduced a lot of iconic characters over the years — don't forget, it started back in the '60s — which means the show's brought a lot of actors aboard, too. Sadly, a number of those actors have died. The loss of these "GH" stars is heartbreaking to fans, coworkers, and especially their family and loved ones. Through remembering their contributions to daytime television, we hope to help their legacy live on for generations to come.

Jacklyn Zeman

Jacklyn Zeman was a force to be reckoned with. Entering the daytime scene 1977, Zeman was among one of the longest-lasting cast members on "General Hospital," appearing in almost 900 episodes on and off for over 42 years. Zeman's portrayal of Bobbie Spencer earned her four Daytime Emmy nominations.

Bobbie was first introduced as the rebellious sister of central Port Charles figure, Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary). Bobbie entered into prostitution as a teen and got pregnant with a baby she eventually gave up for adoption. But over time, she had managed to turn her life around through becoming a nurse at General Hospital. Bobbie was involved in several historic "General Hospital" storylines that propelled the popularity of her character, but none compared to the tear-jerking story where Bobbie's daughter BJ was in a school bus accident.

Jacklyn Zeman died at 70 years old from cancer on May 9, 2023.  "General Hospital" EP Frank Valentini took to X that night to issue a statement. "On behalf of our General Hospital family, I am heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Jackie Zeman," he wrote. "Just like her character, the legendary Bobbie Spencer, she was a bright light and true professional that brought so much positive energy with her to work." Zeman left behind a legacy of outstanding work that fans will continue to enjoy for decades to come.

Sonya Eddy

Sonya Eddy, who portrayed nurse Epiphany Johnson on "General Hospital," died on December 19, 2022. Eddy joined the cast of "General Hospital" in 2006 as the brutally honest but endearing nurse. Eddy appeared in an impressive 543 episodes of the show over a period of 16 years. Although Eddy's character was not featured to the extent of others, fans were always thrilled whenever she would make an appearance as the headstrong nurse. What's more, on the "General Hospital" primetime spinoff series "General Hospital: Night Shift," she was promoted to a main cast member and starred in 25 episodes.

Sadly, Eddy died at 55 years old after experiencing complications after a non-emergency surgery. Prior to her sudden passing, Eddy was scheduled to go in for a pre-scheduled procedure. However, as her friend and producing partner Tyler Ford told TMZ, she got sick and developed an infection that was "uncontainable." Eddy was placed on life support and died shortly after. 

Her dear friend and fellow actor Octavia Spencer announced the news of her death on her Instagram. "My friend @sonyaeddy passed away last night," Spencer wrote in her Instagram post. "The world lost another creative angel. Her legions of @generalhospitalabc fans will miss her. My thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones, friends, and fans!"

Billy Miller

The devastating death of actor Billy Miller shattered the daytime television community. Miller began his admirable career on the soap opera "Young and the Restless" as the character Billy Abbott, but "General Hospital" fans fondly remember him for his portrayal of Drew Cain. Miller joined the cast in 2014, and was a present actor on the soap up until 2019. On "General Hospital," Miller played a character who suffered from memory loss and mistaken identity following an accident. Miller fit into the role with such ease that it was hard to remember a time where he wasn't an integral part of the cast. 

As a viewer, it was clear that Miller was a refreshing presence on the show, as he brought with him humor as well as deep embedded emotion. His spirit was infectious, and colleagues remember him with such love. Following his death, "Y&R" costar Elizabeth Hendrickson wrote on Instagram, "You were such an amazing friend to your inner circle. They were your family. You would do ANYTHING for them. That's who [you] really were. As loyal as they came."

On September 15, 2023, Miller died at 43 years old. In a statement obtained by Soap Opera Digest, the actor's mother shared that Miller, who long struggled with bipolar depression, died by suicide. 

Tyler Christopher

Tyler Christopher was long an essential part of the "General Hospital” family. He brought the character of Nikolas Cassadine to life through heartfelt acting that tugged on viewers heartstrings. Christopher was awarded a Daytime Emmy for best actor in 2016. 

Christopher joined the cast of "General Hospital" in 1996 as the son of Laura Spencer and Stavros Cassadine, where he quickly began to prove his talent as an actor. In scenes with powerhouse performers like Genie Francis, Anthony Geary, and Jonathon Jackson, he delivered tour de force performances with every ounce of material that he was given. Although Nikolas was at the center of several significant storylines, his fairytale relationship with Emily Quartermaine proved to be most memorable. Christopher was such a remarkable leading man, that he made viewers fall in love with the romantic and chivalrous prince. To many, Christopher embodied what it meant to be a legendary soap actor. 

To the utter shock and disbelief of fans, Tyler Christopher died the morning of October 31, 2023, at 50 years old. Maurice Benard, fellow actor and dear friend, confirmed his passing on Instagram with the cause of death being related to a cardiac event. Leading up to his death, Christopher suffered from alcoholism and mental health struggles. After news of his death broke, his colleagues took to social media to mourn the loss. "Days of Our Lives" stars Camila Banus and Arianne Zucker told People he will be remembered for being a kind person.

John Ingle

Actor John Ingle, who for two decades starred as the Quartermaine family patriarch Edward, helped make "General Hospital" the soap opera success it is today. Ingle played Edward Quartermaine from 1996 until December 2003, then made a long awaited return in 2006 after popular demand up until 2012. Through portraying Edward, Ingle was awarded Outstanding Scene Stealer at the Soap Opera Awards in 1999. 

Edward Quatermaine as a character was ruthless and conniving with a sharp sense of humor. After taking over the role from actor David Lewis, Ingle made the character into his own and brought to life memorable storylines that "General Hospital" fans will forever remember. He was a corporate billionaire in his role as a founder, chairman, and CEO of ELQ Enterprises. Edward often pitted his grandsons against each other to prove worthiness in battle for control of the company. As a cunning businessman, Edward was involved in outrageous plots, including one that involved faking a heart attack in an attempt to test the loyalty of Tracy Quartermaine, his scheming daughter.

Ingle died on September 16, 2012, from cancer. He was 84 years old, and his last episode of "General Hospital" after retirement aired just days before his passing. "Father, Husband, Grandan, Great Grandan, Brother, Uncle, Friend, Teacher, Inspirer, Mentor: May You Soar with the Angels," his family wrote on Facebook (via HuffPost). "You will forever hold a special place in the deepest corners of our hearts." 

Bergen Williams

While Alice Gunderson might have been cast as a supporting character on "General Hospital," Bergen Williams' role as the Quartermaines' beloved housekeeper provided the show with a lighthearted, comedic touch that fans and loved ones admired. Williams joined "General Hospital" in 2002, and made her last appearance in 2014. 

As the Quartermaines' live-in housekeeper, Alice, referred to as Big Alice, had a number of juicy storylines. There was Alice's unyielding crush on Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary), her secret life working as a pro wrestler known as The Dominator, her heart attack that resulting in receiving a heart from a mob boss — the list goes on. 

Williams died on July 20, 2021, from Wilson's disease at 62 years old. Wilson's disease, according to Mayo Clinic, is a condition that increases the amount of copper that accumulates in vital organs. "Bergen Williams succumbed to the ravages of Wilson's Disease surrounded by loving family," Williams' sister shared on X. "Bergen was a writer, inventor and actress who played Big Alice on the TV soap General Hospital."

Anna Lee

Nobody represented the beating heart of "General Hospital" quite like Anna Lee. Lee was an irreplaceable presence on "General Hospital" as matriarch Lila Quartermaine, the gentle and patient grandmother figure known for being able to unite the Quartermaines despite their rivalries. Lee was cast as Lila in 1979, and her final appearance was in 2003. Through her portrayal as Lila, Lee has won three Soap Opera Digest awards, and she was also posthumously awarded a lifetime achievement award at the 2004 Daytime Emmys.

Lila Quartermaine provided a soft and gentle touch to the dysfunctional Quartermaine family that was rare for viewers to see. She possessed kindness, wisdom, and most important, unconditional love for those around her. Her forgiving nature allowed her to accept her hit-man grandson Jason (Steve Burton) as well as forgive her daughter Tracy (Jane Elliott) for her cunning behavior. 

On May 14, 2004, Lee died from pneumonia at 91 years old at her home in Beverly Hills. Lee, who was paralyzed from the waist down following a car crash in 1981, struggled with her health in the last several months of her life. 

Jay Pickett

Jay Pickett, beloved actor, was known for acting in both "General Hospital" and primetime spinoff "Port Charles." On the series "Port Charles" Pickett portrayed dedicated paramedic Frank Scanlon from 1997 to 2003 which was considered to be his breakout role before joining the daytime drama in 2006 as Lorenzo Alcazar. Even though his character was killed off, Pickett was such a beloved actor, that he was later asked to rejoin the soap opera as the recurring character Detective David Harper. With three totally separate roles associated with "General Hospital," Pickett showed off his versatility as an actor. 

Pickett died on July 30, 2021, on the set of his movie "Treasure Valley." According to filmmaker Jim Heffel, Pickett died while on a horse for a scene. Actor and director Travis Mills also released a statement on the film's Facebook page: "Jay Pickett, our leading man, writer, producer, and creator of this movie passed away suddenly while we were on location preparing to film a scene. There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack." Pickett will forever be remembered for honorable work and contributions to "General Hospital." 

John Reilly

John Reilly was a respected professional in daytime television. He was cast as WSB agent Sean Donely on "General Hospital" in 1984, and stayed on the series up until November of 1994 after he decided not to renew his contract. Sean Donely first appeared as Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) old boss from the WSB, and his character arc was certainly one to remember, as he exhibited both good and bad behavior throughout his time on the show. Some of his notable storylines pertain to accidental kidnappings, ventures across the country to fight evil, and battles with arch-nemesis Cesar Faison.

John Reilly passed away on January 9, 2021, from a heart attack. His daughter Caitlin Reilly confirmed the sad news. Although his character was written out of the series, he was never forgotten on the show, as "General Hospital” displayed a powerful tribute to John through integrating his daughter Caitlin in an adventurous storyline. "He'll absolutely be by my side in spirit on set rooting me on," Caitlin said in a statement to Variety. "It fills my heart with gratitude to be a part of this tribute to him, and to feel so close to him working on a show he loved so much doing." 

General Hospital fans will forever remember John Reilly, and his legacy will remain on the soap for generations to come. 

Shell Kepler

Shell Kepler takes us back to the golden days on "General Hospital." Kepler was cast as Nurse Amy Vining, the sister of Laura Spencer (Genie Francis) from 1979 to 2002. She entertained and delighted fans as Laura's mischievous younger stepsister, and made a name for herself as a plucky gossip. Some of Amy Vining's most memorable moments were shared with Laura, as her character history involves tracking down her older sister who had just married Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner). She had a tendency to involve herself in drama, and remained quite a pot-stirrer, as she loved to expose secrets that should have remained under wraps. 

Kepler died on February 1, 2008, at 49 years old of renal failure. Kepler was close with all her castmates, but in particular, Jacklyn Zeman, who spoke about her late friend in such fondness. "Shell was always generous with her time, energy, and creativity," Zeman told Soaps.com. "In addition to her acting she was also an artist. Shell was a good friend to me and to my daughters, Cassidy and Lacey. We miss her presence in our lives and we treasure the memories of the good and happy times we shared."

Susan Brown

Susan Brown was best remembered for her role on "General Hospital" as Dr. Gail Adamson Baldwin. She was part of the main cast from 1977 until her departure in 1985, but she would eventually come back to the series as a recurring character. She was also present on the spin-off series "Port Charles" where she was able to play the same character. Gail was a psychiatrist on the show, and was the adopted mother of Monica Bard (Leslie Carlson) and stepmother of Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner). Gail was a nurturing presence on the soap, as she was Monica's source of comfort and sounding board when things were complicated in her love life. She is also remembered for her relationship with Lee Baldwin, where both of them bonded over the trauma of losing both of their previous spouses.

Brown passed away on August 31, 2018 at 86 years old from complications related to Alzheimer's disease. Her on-screen son Kin Shriner spoke to Soaps in Depth about the impact she had in his life. "Susan was the first person I worked with on 'GH,' and it was certainly the best way to come onto a soap," Shriner said. "She kind of shepherded me right through the whole thing."

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