The Sad Truth Behind Neil Winters' Death On The Young And The Restless

"The Young and the Restless" was forced to kill off a beloved longtime character in 2019 when the actor who portrayed Neil Winters since 1991, Kristoff St. John, was found dead at the age of 52 (via The New York Times). His death rocked the soap world, as St. John had been a fixture in it since he landed the role of Adam Marshall on the short-lived NBC daytime drama "Generations" in 1989. St. John was also a child actor who appeared on such classic 1970s series as "The Bad News Bears," Happy Days," and "Wonder Woman."

At the time of St. John's death, Neil had still been a viable character on the show. However, he had not had much storyline during his last few months as St. John had been going through a difficult final few years. In 2014, St. John's 24-year-old son, Julian St. John, killed himself after a long battle with mental illness (via People).

In 2017, St. John was hospitalized after he threatened to shoot himself, according to TMZ. Just a week before his death, The Blast reported that St. John had been admitted to a mental health facility, but was released on February 1. An autopsy report later found that St. John had died from a heart condition that was made worse by his alcohol consumption, according to People. With St. John laid to rest, this meant Neil Winters' fans had to also say goodbye to their beloved character.

'The Young and the Restless' was forced to write off a beloved character

The entire tragic real-life tale of Kristoff St. John's death left the shocked and saddened powers-that-be at "The Young and the Restless" scrambling to end Neil's decades-long story in a way befitting the actor, while paying tribute to both the character and performer. While St. John dealt with mental health issues towards the end of his life, Neil temporarily left town to be closer to his daughter, Lily Winters (Christel Khalil), as she served a prison sentence. He had just returned home to the apartment he shared with his son, Devon Hamilton (Bryton James), after learning Lily was going to be released. However, he never got to see her back in Genoa City (via Soaps In Depth).

Instead, Devon returned home that night to find his father's lifeless body in bed. Neil, who had always been a healthy character, had died from a stroke (via Soap Hub), and the town mourned the loss of a father, brother, and best friend. "Y&R" also gave the character and actor a meaningful sendoff.

'The Young and the Restless' paid tribute to Kristoff St. John and Neil Winters

In April 2019, "The Young and the Restless" had longtime fans, sporadic fans, and new fans tuning into say goodbye to both Neil Winters and Kristoff St. John. Actor Shemar Moore, who left "The Young and the Reckless" in 2005, returned to the role of Malcolm Winters, Neil's brother, after last appearing on the soap in 2014 (via TV Line). The audience could see the real-life pain on the actors' faces and hear it in their voices as different characters eulogized Neil. Later in the week, the show broke the fourth wall to honor St. John.

The soap brought back two former performers, Victoria Rowell — who played Neil's late wife, Drucilla – and Mishael Morgan — who played Neil's last wife, Hillary — to share their memories of St. John. Rowell, Morgan, Bryton James, and Christel Khalil (via Soap Opera Network), all sat on Neil's penthouse set and spoke from the heart about the actor they knew so well. During their discussion, old clips played as the audience remembered the beloved actor and the character he brought to life for nearly three decades.