The Saddest Days Of Our Lives Actor Deaths Of All Time

"Days of Our Lives" fans have been keeping up with the lives of the characters from the Brady, Horton, DiMera, and Kiriakis families for more than 50 years. The NBC soap opera debuted in 1965 and has given fans hundreds of memorable moments over its five-decade run (via Soap Hub). Viewers have seen wild plot twists, unexpected storylines, epic romances, and so much more over the years. Of course, everyone seems to have their favorite moments, couples, and characters.

However, one of the toughest things to deal with is the exit of a character. Whether the character was written off the show, killed off, or the actor sadly passed away, it's always hard to say goodbye to someone you've been watching on television for years. Sadly, "DOOL" viewers have experienced plenty of loss as some of the most beloved actors and actresses from the show's history have died, and their characters have also been retired from the soap.

Macdonald Carey died from lung cancer in 1994

Longtime "Days of Our Lives" viewers know that actor Macdonald Carey was the backbone of the show when it first began in the 1960s. The soap opera featured the actor as character Tom Horton, a beloved and well-respected doctor in the town of Salem. Carey was already well-known due to his career in movies (via The New York Times) and became a very important part of the storylines on "DOOL" over the years.

Sadly, Carey became terminally ill and eventually died from lung cancer in 1994, per The Washington Post. His character, Tom, also died off-screen later that same year (via the LA Times). However, Carey remains a presence on "Days of Our Lives" to this day, as it is his voice that can be heard saying, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives" at the beginning of each and every episode of the fan-favorite sudser (via Herald-Mail Media). Carey's legacy has truly lived on both on and off screen.

Frances Reid passed away in 2010

When many fans think of "Days of Our Lives,” they think of actress Frances Reid in the role of Alice Horton. Alice was the ultimate mother and grandmother figure on the show (via Soap Central). She spent decades on the soap opera playing the wife of Macdonald Carey's Tom Horton. Together, the Hortons raised their family, doled out the best life advice, and brought the people of Salem together.

For her part, Reid became a staple on the show as she was one of the most beloved actors to ever appear on the sudser. She last appeared on the series in 2007. However, the show referenced her character often. Sadly, in February of 2010, Reid passed away at the age of 95, per Entertainment Weekly.

Of course, the soap couldn't send off the Horton matriarch without a proper goodbye. A few months after Reid's death, Alice Horton also died and her loved ones gathered to pay tribute to her during an emotional episode. Like her on-screen husband, Alice remains a fixture on the show to this day.

Joseph Mascolo left a major absence on Days of Our Lives following his death

"Days of Our Lives" viewers know actor Joseph Mascolo as one of the most evil and beloved soap opera villains of all time — Stefano DiMera. Over his three decades on the show, Mascolo's character tortured the people of Salem, creating wild scenarios, devious schemes, and over-the-top revenge plots to make his enemies suffer. The character was also nicknamed "The Phoenix" for his ability to return from the dead, which he did many times (via Soap Hub).

However, after a great run on the soap, Mascolo was forced to make his final appearance in 2016. His character was shot and killed by Hope Brady (Kristian Alfonso), and the actor admitted that Stefano's death would be his last hurrah as he was forced to retire due to health issues, per Soap Opera Digest.

Mascolo confirmed that he had suffered a stroke and had also been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He died in December 2016 at the age of 87, per CNN.

Frank Parker passed away 10 years after leaving DOOL

Actor Frank Parker joined the cast of "Days of Our Lives" in 1983 as the character of Shawn Brady. As the patriarch of the lovable Brady family, Shawn was easy to like as he ran the Brady Pub with his wife, Caroline (Peggy McCay), and children, Roman, Kimberly, Kayla, and Bo Brady (via Soap Central). Although he spent more than 20 years in the role of Grandpa Shawn, the actor ultimately decided to leave the soap opera in 2008. His character was tragically and heartbreakingly killed in an airplane crash that also involved many other fan-favorite characters. Shawn died after giving his son, Bo, his own oxygen mask and sacrificing himself, per Deadline.

Meanwhile, Parker lived for another decade until he became ill from Parkinson's disease. She Knows Soaps reports that the actor eventually passed away from complications of the disease at the age of 79 in September 2018.

Peggy McCay died just one month after her on-screen husband

Actress Peggy McCay began playing the role of Caroline Brady on "Days of Our Lives" in 1983. The Brady matriarch raised her four children and helped her husband Shawn (Frank Parker) run the Brady Pub, per Soap Central. The character went through many ups and downs during her run on the soap, including admitting that her son Bo was fathered by none other than Salem bad guy Victor Kiriakis.

McCay made her final appearance on "DOOL" in August 2016 (via Deadline). However, like Frances Reid's character, Alice Horton, the show kept the character alive and part of the backdrop, as she was often mentioned by many of her children and grandchildren over the years. Sadly, the actress died of natural causes at the age of 90 in October 2018, just one month after her on-screen husband Frank Parker passed away (via She Knows Soaps). The show gave McCay her final send-off when Caroline died off-screen in June 2019, per She Knows Soaps.

It's never easy to say goodbye to our favorite actors, but "Days of Our Lives" has made certain that their characters get a proper tribute.