By Chiara Piacentini
“General Hospital” lost one of its notable alumni, Tyler Christopher, on Oct. 31. The actor was found dead in his San Diego apartment by a close friend after failing to respond to his attempts to get in touch, according to the New York Post.
Maurice Bernard, a co-star of “General Hospital” and another former friend of Christopher, revealed the cause of death in an Instagram post as a “cardiac event.” He was 50 years old.
Christopher was known for playing Nikolas Cassadine, one of the princes — sometimes known as “the dark prince” — on “General Hospital.” His 20-year stint with the show that now spans 60 years on television eventually earned him an Emma award for his character in 2016, which also happened to be his last year in the production.
When his contract with “General Hospital” officially ended, Christopher moved on to another long-running soap opera, “Days of Our Lives,” as Stefan DiMera, the son of the notorious crime lord Stefano DiMera.
Besides his acting career, Christopher struggled with bipolar disorder and an addiction to alcohol that dates back to third grade. He confessed his battle with addiction in a 2022 podcast with Bernard.
“You became an addict at nine years old. Fast forward 40 years, at some point you cannot survive it,” Christopher said, according to that People. “At some point it will kill you, and it has. Three times I have flatlined, and nobody knows that, I’m saying it right here for the first time.”
He also admitted that his addiction was the reason for losing his role in “General Hospital” in 2016. Christopher described this moment as “surreal” and “devastating for a myriad of reasons.”
Christopher also said that this mental illness also affected his work life.
“Every time I finish a scene, I go down, I sit in my dressing room, and I tell myself how terrible it was and I wish I could go up and do it again,” he said.
In 2019, Christopher decided to end his toxic relationship with alcohol for good, but he went through a severe withdrawal that ended up giving him a traumatic brain injury.
“I was going through delirium tremens by myself completely alone, which is deadly,” he said. “I fell. I hit this part of my head on the edge of a bathtub, and my skull exploded.”
This fall turned out to be a pivotal moment for Christopher as he decided to turn his life around for the better after waking up from his brain surgery; his family was told he wouldn’t survive the surgery.
He lived with his sister for two years in Ohio before taking a train to Los Angeles to resume his acting career, but things took an unexpected turn. The man he was supposed to be staying with bailed on him at the last minute with no explanation. For several weeks, Christopher lived the life of a homeless man until a friend found him sleeping on a bench by Toluca Lake.
The “General Hospital” star reflected on this moment in Bernard’s podcast: “What a burden it is to believe that we can do this alone. It’s a burden I don’t want.”
Christopher is survived by his son, Greyson, and his daughter, Boheme, with whom he shares with his ex-wife Brienne Pedigo, according to the New York Times.