After the shocking news broke that beloved daytime drama star Kristoff St. John had passed away at the age of 52, many of his current and former costars are speaking out with emotional messages of remembrance.
St. John starred on The Young & the Restless as Neil Winters since 1991, and in that time, actor Shemar Moore played his half-brother Malcolm Winters. “I’m raised an only child, but Kristoff is truly the closest thing to a brother and a brother’s love and a brother’s mentorship that I’ve ever known,” Moore said after learning that St. John had passed.
“He didn’t have to embrace me the way he did. When I came in and was trying to find my way and he saw how scared I was, he saw how nervous I was,” Moore told PEOPLE. “He saw my six pack and all that, but he just saw me and he embraced me like a brother. If he hadn’t embraced me, I would have never got my sure footing in the beginning days.” Moore went on to credit St. John for helping propel his career, which of course meant going on to starring roles in hit TV series such as Criminal Minds and S.W.A.T.
“I would have life, but it would have been on a very different tangent and a very different lane. I will always give Kristoff that credit. I will always thank The Young & the Restless for taking a chance on me so that I can have this career. Kristoff was there in the trenches with me. Victoria Rowell, Tonya Lee Williams,” he adds of his fellow The Young & the Restless castmates, “but Kristoff, day to day to day, he rooted for me. He didn’t have to. He didn’t have to, and many wouldn’t, but he rooted for me; he helped me; he held my hand; he said, ‘Stick with me, bruh, I’m going to show you the way and then you do what you’re doing.’”
Moore wasn’t the only star to speak out, as Vivica A. Fox also posted a heartfelt message after hearing of his death. “GM Dawlings! It is with a very heavy heart that I wake up this morning to hear about the passing of my good friend @KristoffStJohn who I started off my acting career with on the Soap Operas #Generations & #Young&TheRestless and recently #AChristmasCruise,” Fox, 54, wrote via Instagram along with a throwback picture on Monday, February 4. “WOW! Kristoff I will soo miss u my brotha! U were a true gentleman 4sho! #GONETOSOON [sic] #RESTINPARADISE my friend! #Blessed #Respect.” Fox starred alongside St. John in one episode of Generations in 1989, and spent over a year as his costar on Y&R playing Stephanie Simmons, and the duo also appeared together in the 2017 holiday movie A Christmas Cruise.
Eileen Davidson, who starred on Y&R for decades as Ashley Abbott also released a statement remembering her former costar. “An infinite number of hearts are broken because of the passing of Kristoff St. John. Kristoff was a loving kind generous sweet hilarious gifted human. He left an indelible mark on all who were blessed to know him. I am so grateful to have been able to work with him and laugh with him. My deepest condolences go out to his family and especially his children, who I know he loves so much.”
Melody Thomas Scott, 62, also released a statement, saying, “We will desperately miss my dear friend, Kristoff. We all loved him so much. I’m brokenhearted.”
Bryton James, who plays Kristoff’s character’s son on the soap, told PEOPLE in a statement, “There are no words for my devastation. For the last 15 years, Kristoff St. John has been my other father, my friend and in the beginning, my reason for feeling as though I belonged in the Y&R family. He was an unbelievable example of strength, given what he endured over the course of his life. But most importantly, he taught us all every single day how to choose to have fun with life no matter what. I will miss him forever… His daughters Lola and Paris will always have me as family.”
Several other stars also posted their messages after St. John was found dead in his home in the San Fernando Valley on Sunday, February 3. While no cause of death has been confirmed, early reports indicated that police suspected alcohol was a factor. St. John had continually battled his own mental health issues following the death of his son Julian, who at 24, took his own life in a treatment center in November 2014. Back in 2017, St. John had to take a leave from Y&R to seek mental health treatment after he threatened to commit suicide on the anniversary of his son’s death.