Jay Pickett, a veteran soap opera star, died on Friday, July 30 while on set filming a new movie in Idaho. He was 60 years old.
News of his death first broke on Friday when actor and film producer Jim Heffel shared a touching note about their friendship on Facebook. Heffel posted various photos of the two on set together, donning western clothes for the upcoming film, “Treasure Valley.”
“Yesterday I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person,” Heffel wrote. “Jay Pickett decided to ride off into the Heavens. Jay died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie Treasure Valley in Idaho. The way of a true cowboy.”
He continued the touching note, adding, “Jay wrote the story and starred in it. He was also coproducer with myself and Vernon Walker. He will be truly missed. Ride like the wind partner.”
On Sunday, Travis Mills, the director of “Treasure Valley,” confirmed the news in a post on the movie’s official Facebook page. He also shared that the cause of death appears to have been a heart attack, with no further explanation.
“Many of you have already heard about the tragedy that happened two days ago. Jay Pickett, our leading man, writer, producer, and creator of this movie passed away suddenly while we were on location preparing to film a scene,” Mills wrote. “There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack. Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive. Our hearts are broken and we grieve for his family who are so devastated by this shocking tragedy.”
Mills went on to describe Pickett as an “incredible man” who was “kind, sweet and generous.”
“He was one of the best actors I ever worked with and it was an honor to collaborate with him,” he continued. “Everyone who met him, even for the briefest moment, could feel his warmth, his wonderful spirit. It is difficult to find the words right now to say more. His closest friends have said that he was very happy making Treasure Valley and my hope is that he truly was.”
The director ended his emotional post on a touching note, writing, “He was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, making movies. And he was magnificent.”
Pickett was born on Feb. 10, 1961 in Spokane, Washington, but grew up in Caldwell, Idaho.
The actor portrayed Frank Scanlon on the “General Hospital” spin-off, “Port Charles” for 762 episodes according to IMDB, which ran from 1997 to 2003. In addition to starring as Dr. Chip Lakin on “Days of Our Lives” and Detective David Harper on “General Hospital,” Pickett also started in movies, like “Soda Springs,” “A Matter of Faith” and “The Work Wife.”
Pickett was remembered by friends and colleagues on social media as they eulogized the actor on Sunday.
Actor Kin Shriner, who starred on “General Hospital” and its spin-off “Port Charles,” shared a black and white group photo featuring the late actor on Twitter.
“The sudden passing of my pal Jay Pickett Is very sad,” he wrote. “He loved acting and Westerns , and when we got together we laughed a lot . R.I.P. Jay .”
Stuntman Ardeshir Radpour shared a tribute to the late actor on Facebook, posting a photo edit featuring a man on a horse and a headshot of Pickett donning a cowboy cap with a text overlay that read, “See you soon cowboy! We love you and will miss you!”
“I am so so so heart broken to find out so suddenly of rhe untimely passing of a great human being and friend,” he wrote in the caption of the post. “Jay, you will always be with us and we will always be with you. Thank you partner for your friendship and your mentorship. What an honor to work with you and cal you a friend. Rest In Peace brother.”
Actor Marie Wilson, who starred on “Port Charles” alongside Shriner and Pickett, posted a touching post to Instagram on Sunday. She shared a photo of she and Pickett in a magazine together, as well as a group photo with her former co-star.
“This is one of the most difficult posts I’ve done,” she began the emotional caption. “My heart is broken to hear that this incredible person has passed. Words cannot describe how much you touched my life…. your friendship, advice, and support made me feel so grateful and lucky.”
She recalled her first day on set with Pickett, adding, “My first day on the set was with us having a water fight …. and the fun adventures continued from there.”
“So happy to have shared all those moments with you,” she concluded her tribute. “ I will miss you my friend💔💔💔.”
Pickett is survived by his wife of 35 years, Elena Pickett, and their three children: Tyler, Michaela and Maegan.