Tyler Christopher was known and beloved by many fans for his roles as Nikolas Cassadine on General Hospital and Stefan DiMera on Days of Our Lives, but off-set, the actor was also open about his struggles with alcoholism and bipolar disorder during his career before his death this week at 50 years old.
Tyler’s former General Hospital co-star Maurice Benard said that he died Tuesday morning after a “cardiac event” at his San Diego apartment, reports Fox News.
Benard added, “Tyler was a sweet soul and wonderful friend to all of those who knew him. Tyler was an advocate for better mental health and substance use treatment who openly spoke about his struggles with bipolar depression and alcohol.”
Christopher opened up about his alcoholism and bipolar disorder in a recent op-ed for Reader’s Digest.
“Before I took the leap to recovery, I struggled with my mental health,” Christopher wrote. “My addiction to alcohol contributed to losing my jobs on General Hospital and Days of Our Lives — no one else is to blame.”
He added, “Eventually, I saw the light, and I was in a fortunate enough position to be able to get the help I truly needed for my mental health and sobriety.”
The late soap star said the coronavirus pandemic amplified his struggles, but he wrote that he was able to get help through an inpatient program.
Aside from his General Hospital roles as Nikolas Cassadine and his lookalike Connor Bishop from 1996 to 2016, Christopher also played Stefan DiMera and Signore Christofero on Days of Our Lives for more than 100 episodes between 2001 and 2019.
His latest role was a TV movie called Ice Storm that came out this year.
Christopher told Benard on hisState of Mind podcast that he was devastated by his firing from both shows.
“It crushed me, because I took for granted the one thing I love the most,” he said.
He added, “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, ‘Wow, this is for real, dude. This is for real.’ And I haven’t been back since. That ship has sailed.”
He also revealed that he had flatlined three times before.
“Nobody knows that. I am saying it here for the first time,” he said. “Three times I have flatlined, and they brought me back.”
He added it was twice from poisoning, once from withdrawal.
Christopher was also arrested for public intoxication last May when he allegedly fell asleep at a Los Angeles-area airport and in 2019 in Indiana.
He was married to Desperate Housewives actress, Eva Longoria, from 2002 until 2004 and to journalist Brienne Pedigo from 2008 to 2021, with whom he shared two children, 14 and 8.
Tributes for Christopher have flooded in since his death was announced on Tuesday.
“This news was incredibly shocking, and I am devastated by his loss,” his rep Chi Lo told Fox News Digital.
“He was a very gifted actor, and more importantly, an amazing friend. My heart goes out to his friends and family who loved him so much.”
Alyssa Milano, who worked with him on Charmed, called him a “wonderful actor” and General Hospital executive producer Frank Valentini said he was “heartbroken” by the news.
“He was kind, an incredible actor and a dear friend, who was beloved by our #GH family and fans of Nikolas Cassadine,” Valentini wrote on X.
This article originally appeared in Fox News and was reproduced with permission