What Really Happened To General Hospital's A.J. Quartermaine?

Alan "A.J." Quartermaine Jr. was born on-screen on "General Hospital" in 1979. He is the only biological child of legacy characters, the late Dr. Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon) and his wife Dr. Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson), though at the time of his birth it was briefly thought that Dr. Rick Webber could be his father, according to Soaps in Depth.

Several child actors portrayed A.J. in the '80s until Gerald Hopkins took on the role when the character returned from boarding school in 1991, having been rapidly aged. In 1993, soap vet Sean Kanan was cast as A.J. and stayed until 1997, when he was replaced with Billy Warlock. Warlock remained in the role until 2003 and reappeared in 2005. From 2012 to 2014, Kanan reprised the character again until A.J. was permanently killed off the show.

A.J. grew up in the wealthy Quartermaine family with his younger brother Jason, who was a product of Alan's affair with Susan Moore — a fact that A.J. never let him forget — and their adopted sister Emily. A.J. had a troubled youth, which included developing alcoholism at a young age, several drunk driving arrests, creating a lone shark business when he was in college, having an affair with an older woman, and causing the crash that gave his brother Jason amnesia (via Soap Central). Though he tried many times over the years to turn things around for himself, A.J. was never truly able to get his life together and his adulthood became even darker.

A.J. Quartermaine fathers a child

In 1997, A.J. Quartermaine had a drunken one-night stand with a woman calling herself Carly Roberts (then Sarah Joy Brown), who had come to Port Charles to get revenge against her biological mother for giving her up (via Soap Opera Digest). Carly ended up pregnant and everyone in town was led to believe that A.J.'s brother, now going by Jason Morgan (Steve Burton), was the father. It wasn't until a few years later that Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) informed A.J. that he was the real father of Carly's son Michael and that Jason had claimed paternity to help Carly keep the child away from him.

After the paternity bombshell was dropped, A.J. proposed to Carly despite the fact that the two couldn't stand each other. He was hoping to provide a stable family life for his son when Carly agreed to the marriage, but only because she had a plan to paint A.J. as an unfit parent to gain sole custody of Michael and get a nice chunk of the Quartermaine fortune.

While married to A.J., Carly became pregnant by mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard), per Soaps in Depth. A.J. agreed to claim the child as his own until an altercation with Carly caused her to fall down the stairs and she ended up miscarrying the baby. The Quartermaines kicked A.J. out of the family mansion, Carly divorced him, and she and Michael went to live with Sonny. Then, Sonny kidnapped AJ and blackmailed him into giving up his parental rights, and then adopted Michael himself.

A.J. Quartermaine marries Courtney Matthews

By 2002, A.J. Quartermaine had decided to torture his nemesis by dating Sonny Corinthos' half-sister Courtney Matthews (Alicia Leigh Willis) (via Soap Central). In addition to enraging Sonny, A.J. thought the relationship might help him gain custody rights to his son, now named Michael Corinthos. A.J. soon found himself developing real feelings for Courtney, even choosing her over the Quartermaines whom he had reconciled with, and the two were married.

Unfortunately, the marriage was rocky at best. When A.J. drunkenly drove his car into a strip club owned by Coleman Ratcliffe (Blake Gibbons), Courtney was blackmailed into dancing there to pay off his debt. When A.J. discovered that his wife was stripping, he burned the club to the ground. By that time Courtney had grown close to A.J.'s brother Jason whom Sonny had hired to protect her. Jealous of their relationship, A.J. then hired Coleman to stalk Courtney so that he could come to his wife's rescue. The truth about A.J.'s scheme was eventually revealed and Courtney divorced him to be with Jason.

After Courtney left him, A.J. began focusing on the family business ELQ International and by 2003 had become CEO — after his cousin Ned Ashton (Wally Kurth) was falsely accused of sexual assault and kicked out of the company (via Soaps). A.J. was not a successful businessman and quickly became tired of his family's constant criticism. He then emptied out the Quartermaine's substantial bank accounts and fled town.

A.J. Quartermaine kidnaps his son and is then presumed dead

In 2005, A.J. Quartermaine returned to Port Charles with a plan to fake the death of his son Michael Corinthos (then Dylan Cash) and then take him overseas to raise himself, according to Soap Central. A.J. hired Faith Rosco (Cynthia Preston) to kidnap Michael for him, and then temporarily hid out in the Quartermaine attic with his son. AJ's father Alan Quartermaine discovered them and initially agreed to help his son before realizing that A.J. was clearly not in his right mind.

By this point, Sonny's right-hand Jason Morgan had been searching for Michael and discovered him being held by A.J. In an ensuing altercation, A.J. inadvertently shot his father Alan, and then he and Jason fought and fell down the stairs together. A.J. ended up with a broken back and was taken to General Hospital for treatment.

While in the hospital, A.J. tried to blackmail Dr. Asher Thomas (Larry Poindexter) into claiming that A.J. was insane at the time of Alan's shooting so he wouldn't go to prison. Years earlier, A.J. had hired Asher to kill his brother Jason while he was in a coma following the car accident that A.J. caused. Though that plan never came to fruition, A.J. was trying to use the information against Asher. Dr. Thomas was not interested in A.J.'s offer and instead he smothered the other man with a pillow (via Soap Opera Digest). A.J. was then presumed dead for several years.

A.J. Quartermaine returns from the dead to take over ELQ

In 2012, it was revealed that A.J. Quartermaine was actually alive and that his mother Monica Quartermaine, and Dr. Steven Webber (Scott Reeves) had faked his death so he would avoid going to prison for his crimes and attend rehab (via Soaps in Depth). A.J. had returned to Port Charles to comfort his mother after her other son Jason Morgan was thought to be killed. A.J. was quickly discovered in town and arrested for kidnapping his son and shooting his father years earlier, but he was able to get the charges dropped by providing the police with information about international super-criminal Cesar Faison.

A.J. then tried to build a life for himself in his hometown by beginning to forge a real relationship with his son Michael (now aged to an adult and played by Chad Duell), and getting involved with ELQ again. A.J. and Michael end up working together to try and get his aunt Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliot) removed as CEO so A.J. can take over. The business feud between A.J. and Tracy came to a head on the television show "The Chew" (which aired a special crossover episode with "GH") where they fought over the secret family relish recipe known as Pickle Lila, named after the legendary Lila Quartermaine (Anna Lee) (via TV Guide). Unfortunately, AJ's efforts were in vain and Tracy was able to outsmart him and remain in power of the company.

A.J. Quartermaine is accused of murder and then killed

After A.J. Quartermaine lost his latest bid for CEO of ELQ, he fell off the wagon and drunkenly grabbed a gun, and went to threaten Connie Falconeri (Kelly Sullivan), whom he partially blamed for his misfortune (via Soap Central). Unfortunately, later that evening Connie was found murdered but was able to write the letters AJ in blood before she died. Everyone in town believed that A.J. was the killer, including himself since he had blacked out and couldn't remember the events of the night, but he was found not guilty at trial due to lack of evidence.

Eventually, memories of that night began coming back to A.J. and he realized that the letter's "AJ" actually referred to Ava Jerome (Maura West) and that she was Connie's real killer (via Soaps in Depth). A.J. went to confront Ava and she confessed. Enraged, A.J. began choking Ava, when Sonny Corinthos appeared. Fueled by years of hatred for the other man, having to share his son with him, believing that he killed the woman he loved, and seeing him assaulting another woman, Sonny was blind with rage and shot A.J. point-blank.

Sonny and Ava fled the scene but A.J. was eventually found and rushed to the hospital where he ended up in a brief coma. He woke up long enough to tell Carly Corinthos (now Laura Wright) that Sonny was the one who shot him, and then he died (via Michael Fairman TV). "General Hospital" showed AJ being escorted into heaven by his sister Emily Quartermaine (Natalia Livingston), which is a common practice for the soap when they want to confirm a character won't be returning from the dead — so don't get your hopes up for a comeback!