By Lynette Rice
February 04, 2019 at 10:24 AM EST

Kristoff St. John, who played Neil Winters on TV’s most watched daytime drama The Young and the Restless, was found dead on Sunday, EW has confirmed. He was 52.

“The news of Kristoff St. John’s passing is heartbreaking. He was a very talented actor and an even better person. For those of us who were fortunate enough to work with him on The Young and the Restless for the last 27 years, he was a beloved friend whose smile and infectious laugh made every day on set a joy and made audiences love him,” CBS Television Network and Sony Pictures Television said in a joint statement. “On behalf of the Y&R cast and crew, CBS and Sony Pictures Television, we offer our heartfelt sympathy to his family and loved ones, especially his two daughters, Paris and Lola.”

The Young and the Restless
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS/Getty Images

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed to PEOPLE that St. John was found dead at a home in Woodland Hills, CA. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

In March, St. John returned to work at the CBS sudser after a four-month-plus hiatus. He had sought a a leave of absence to undergo psychiatric treatment after a reported scare regarding his mental health. The actor had been open about his battles with depression after the loss of his son, Julian, who died by suicide four years ago.

The last activity on his Twitter account was Jan. 21, when he retweeted someone’s message about losing a child.

In December 2014, Kristoff and his ex-wife Mia lost their son Julian while he was seeking treatment at a mental health facility. The couple sued the facility for negligence, and the case was settled out of court.

St. John originated the role of Neil on Y&R in 1991. He won two Emmys for playing the makeup executive who was best known for his tempestuous relationship with Drucilla Winters, who was played by Victoria Rowell.

At the start of his TV career, St. John appeared in shows like Happy Days, Wonder Woman, and the miniseries Roots: The Next Generations. Later on, he had recurring roles on Diagnosis: Murder and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.

On Monday, Russian-born model Kseniya Mikhaleva posted and then deleted an Instagram tribute to St. John, whom she became engaged to in September 2018.

“How did it happen ??? How ??? Why did you leave so early ???? and left me alone ….. I can’t believe ????” she wrote, as reported by PEOPLE. “You were everything to me …. you were a loving father, a loving man,… ??????????? love??” she wrote. “We should doing a lot of things in future……”

The Young and the Restless

  • TV Show
  • CBS