General Hospital: Inside The Messy Battle Over Sonya Eddy's Posthumous Emmy Statue

"I am heartbroken about the loss of the incredible @sonyaeddy. I truly loved her, not only as an actress, but as a friend," were some of the words used by "General Hospital" executive producer Frank Valentini in a December 20, 2022, Instagram post on the show's official page after news broke of Sonya Eddy's heartbreaking death. The soap star played head nurse Epiphany Johnson who was tough yet fair and who touched the lives of most of the residents of Port Charles.

"The lights in the hub of the nurse's station will now be a little dimmer," he continued, adding, "but her spirit and light will live on in both the show and our set." He spoke for the cast and crew when he then offered condolences to everyone in her life. The 55-year-old Eddy had been on the show since 2006 and died in December 2022 after an infection caused by a planned surgery, according to TMZ.

Eddy, a 1994 graduate of the University of California, Davis, posthumously received a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Drama Series on December 15, 2023. Her long-time friend and producing partner Tyler Ford accepted the trophy in her place, but now Eddy's family is fighting to get it from him, casting a dark shadow over the beloved star's amazing career.

Sonya Eddy's family didn't know she would be receiving the Emmy

On January 23, TMZ reported that the younger brother of "General Hospital" star Sonya Eddy, Robbie Eddy, claimed that their family wasn't informed in advance by the Television Academy his sister would be receiving the award. He also alleged that Tyler Ford informed them that the statue would remain in his possession and admitted that while he and Sonya had been somewhat estranged, they were endeavoring to fix things between them prior to her untimely death.

Eddy's mother, who is 84, is living with Alzheimer's and would like to have the trophy, especially considering she was the one who supported Eddy's career. TMZ stated that the family has written a letter to the Academy but does not want to pursue any legal action for fear of besmirching the memory of the beloved star. They're hoping that Ford will do the honorable thing and hand it over to them.

Eddy's impressive run on "GH" garnered her many friends among the castmates, and several paid tribute to her after her death. In a video posted by ABC 11 in 2023, Rebecca Herbst, whose character Elizabeth Webber had stepped into Epiphany Johnson's shoes as head nurse after she was killed off, stated: "I know she was the head nurse of 'GH' but she truly was that figure in our personal lives. It's been really hard."

General Hospital dedicated a full episode to Eddy

On December 20, 2022, acclaimed actress and friend of Sonya Eddy, Octavia Spencer, took to Instagram to honor the fallen "General Hospital" star. "My friend @sonyaeddy passed away last night," she touchingly wrote, adding, "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!" The outpouring of love from countless fans was phenomenal.

Not only did fans and castmates come out in full force across the Internet to pay their respects, but the show itself paid tribute to Eddy. According to Soap Opera Digest (via Soaps in Depth), executive producer Frank Valentini got together with the show's writers to try and decide whether or not they should kill off Epiphany Johnson or have her simply be traveling away from Port Charles. "We decided that Epiphany was someone who loved Port Charles and if we weren't able to see her, recasting Epiphany was completely and utterly out of the question," he explained.

Considering Epiphany touched so many people's lives, Valentini felt a full episode should be about her. He emphasized the importance of the occasion, stating, "We decided that it was important to honor not only Sonya but Epiphany." The tribute episode in which all of Port Charles came out to say goodbye to Epiphany aired on March 29, 2023, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.