John Callahan, of All My Children and Santa Barbara, Dead at 66

John Callahan Dead AMC

All My Children and Santa Barbara vet John Callahan died on Saturday morning after suffering a massive stroke at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 66.

“May flights of angels wing you to your rest, my dear friend,” Callahan’s ex-wife and former AMC screen partner, Eva La Rue, shared on Instagram. (The two were wed from 1996 to 2005, and have an 18-year-old daughter, Kaya McKenna.) “Your bigger-than-life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever.

“Kaya and I are beyond broken-hearted, so stunned, sorry that my thoughts are a mess,” La Rue continued in her remembrance, shown in full below. “You gave the best most beautifully written tributes, and I am at a complete loss for words right now for you. I hope Heaven has baseball and that your team always wins! The Yankees has just lost their biggest fan.”

Best known to daytime-TV audiences for his 1992-2005 run as AMC‘s enigmatic and dashing Edmund Grey, Callahan’s soap opera credits also included Santa Barbara (where he played Craig Hunt), Days of Our Lives, General Hospital (as Leo the shady masseur) and the web series The Bay.

His primetime TV credits meanwhile included Falcon Crest, where he played Eric Stavros. plus Watch Over Me and the 2016 miniseries Ladies of the Lake (opposite fellow daytime-TV vets Martha Madison, Lilly Melgar, Marie Wilson and Jessica Morris).

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May Flights of Angels Wing You to Your Rest my Dear Friend. Your bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We are devastated-My great friend, co parent partner, and loving father to Kaya. That big belly laugh, bear hugs, bad puns, ability to harmonize to any song, great kitchen table singing-fests, and two steppin bad ass! “Johnny Numbers”, my All My Children soap stud, the great time keeper, Beatles fanatic ( I wish to God we could go back to “Yesterday”)… Kaya and I are beyond broken hearted, so stunned, sorry that my thoughts are a mess. You gave the best most beautifully written tributes, and I am at a complete loss for words right now for you. I hope Heaven has baseball and that your team always wins! The Yankees has just lost their biggest Fan. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

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Sarah Michelle Gellar, who starred on AMC alongside the actor from 1993-1995, also posted a touching tribute, with photos of Callahan and his daughter.

Get past the horrible eyebrows on me and you will notice the incredibly handsome man, standing beside, me at my high school graduation. That’s #JohnCallahan or better know to me as GP (but why I called him that remains between us and those closest to him). He stepped into a lot of moments in my life because I didn’t have a father to be there,” she wrote. “John’s greatest joy in his life, was when he had a daughter of his own @kaya_callahan. John left us this morning. I promise you GP just as you were there for me, I will always be there for smoosh (Kaya) and @evalarue as well. I will tape a pic of you to my hand held mirror (that’s for you @kellyripa) This is all too much, especially right now, but I want the world to know how much you meant to so many people. #RIPJohnCallahan

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Get past the horrible eyebrows on me and you will notice the incredibly handsome man, standing beside, me at my high school graduation. That’s #JohnCallahan or better know to me as GP (but why I called him that remains between us and those closest to him) He stepped into a lot of moments in my life because I didn’t have a father to be there. Johns greatest joy in his life, was when he had a daughter of his own @kaya_callahan. John left us this morning. I promise you GP just as you were there for me, I will always be there for smoosh (Kaya) and @evalarue as well. I will tape a pic of you to my hand held mirror (that’s for you @kellyripa ) This is all too much, especially right now, but I want the world to know how much you meant to so many people. #RIPJohnCallahan

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Eden Riegel, who starred on AMC as Bianca Montgomery, tweeted her reaction to the sad news. “Nooo! This is heartbreaking news. John was a sweet, big-hearted man, who was always so kind to me (and to anyone he encountered.) I know I’m not alone in feeling sucker-punched by this loss. Condolences to Eva La Rue and his daughter, Kaya. He will be deeply missed by us all.”

Alana De La Garza, who played Rosa Santos in 2001, tweeted: “This is just such a loss. John was a class act all the way. Kind, funny and so charming. Heaven gained another incredible angel today. Thoughts and prayers with @ImEvaLaRue and their daughter.”