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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

The cast of "The Young and the Restless" shared warm memories of their late co-star Kristoff St. John — who played Neil Winters on the daytime drama for more than 27 years — in an emotional tribute episode on Monday.

The CBS series' actors and alums, including Shemar Moore, Victoria Rowell, Eric Braeden and many others, gathered to honor St. John, who died Feb. 3 of heart disease at age 52.

Moore, who last week reprised his role of Neil’s brother, Malcolm Winters, for two mournful episodes, called St. John his acting "mentor."

"He carried me," he said. "He embraced me. He was never jealous of me. He was always my mentor. I always looked up to him. And the stronger I got, the prouder he got.

"... Now he’s gone," he added. "But I’m going to keep on carrying him. I’m going to keep on trying to make him proud."

Many of St. John's co-stars mentioned how much they'll miss his upbeat personality.

"He really resonated with people and he gave people hope that anything is possible," said Rowell, who played St. John's onscreen wife, Drucilla.

"He was a ray of sunlight," said Eric Braeden (Victor Newman). "When he came in, always a good word, always a joke, always a laugh. He'd just lighten up the stage."

Monday's touching episode was just the latest way the series has honored St. John, who began playing Winters in 1991.

Just days after the death of the Daytime Emmy winner, "The Young and the Restless" aired a poignant clip of the actor at the end of an episode.

"It feels like a real accomplishment," St. John said in the behind-the-scenes moment. "I've been a part of something that will somehow be in a time capsule up there, and I'm part of that? Yeah, I'm one of the brothers on 'The Young and the Restless.' I'm one of the sons. I'm one of the family members. I was there. Yeah, man, Neil Winters was an integral part."