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On October 31, General Hospital vet Maurice Benard made a heartbreaking revelation via his Instagram account. We were not prepared for it in the slightest. “It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Tyler Christopher,” his post began. “Tyler passed away this morning following a cardiac event in his San Diego apartment. Tyler was a truly talented individual that lit up the screen in every scene he performed and relished bringing joy to his loyal fans through his acting.
“Tyler was a sweet soul and wonderful friend to all of those who knew him,” Benard added. “Tyler was an advocate for better mental-health and substance-use treatment who openly spoke about his struggles with bipolar depression and alcohol.” That, he did, as you can see in his unguarded State of Mind interview with his longtime co-star below.
As hard hit as we all are by Christopher’s death, Benard may be feeling it even more deeply. “We are beyond devastated,” he said, presumably speaking for himself and wife Paula, “by the loss of our dear friend and pray for his children and his father.”
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The Emmy-winning actor played Nikolas Cassadine on General Hospital from 1996-99, from 2003-11 and from 2013-16. Below, you can watch him say hello to on-screen baby sister Lulu in one of his very first scenes
After being recast and re-recast at General Hospital, in 2017, Christopher joined the Days of Our Lives lineup as Stefan O. DiMera, the surprise son of supervillains Stefan DiMera and Vivian Alamain. It was a plummest of parts, but, alas, the demons that he fought resurfaced, and he was let go in 2019. “It crushed me, because I took for granted the one thing I love the most,” he said during his State of Mind Q&A. “It was devastating for a myriad of reasons. One, the thing that I love the most was taken away. Two, I threw it away. Nobody took it away from me. I dropped it, OK?
“Having to walk out the doors under those circumstances? That was like, ‘This is for real, dude,’” he continued. “And I haven’t been back since. That ship has sailed.”
In 2019, during a period of alcohol withdrawal, Christopher was placed under the guardianship of his sister, Susan Asmo Baker. At that time, he had fallen, hit his head and undergone life-saving surgery to stop internal bleeding. In July of this year, the actor spoke with Bloomberg about his experience. “I never thought in a million years that I would be taken advantage of by a family member,” he said.
Back in May, Christopher was arrested at the Hollywood Burbank Airport for public intoxication and released on $250 bail. He’d also been arrested four years prior when he fell asleep in the back of an Uber. He pleaded guilty, and, per TMZ, a judge denied a request by law enforcement that he be sentenced to an alcohol treatment program.
Born Tyler Christopher Baker in Joliet, Ill., Christopher and his second wife — former ESPN reporter Brienne Pedigo — have two young children, Greysun and Boheme. He was previously married to Young & Restless alum Eva Longoria (ex-Isabella), engaged to General Hospital castmate Vanessa Marcil (ex-Brenda) and involved with General Hospital leading lady Natalia Livingston (ex-Emily).
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We will update this story as more information becomes available. In the meantime, our hearts go out to all those who loved Christopher and were rooting for him.