Soap actor Jay Pickett of Port Charles fame passed away Friday at the age of 60, according to a Facebook post by film producer Jim Heffel. The official cause of death has not yet been released.
“Yesterday I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person,” Heffel eulogized. “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. Jay wrote the story and starred in it. He was also co-producer with myself and Vernon Walker. He will be truly missed. Ride like the wind partner.”
*Update*: The film’s director Travis Mills confirmed on the movie’s Facebook page that Pickett passed away suddenly while on location preparing to film a scene. “There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack,” he wrote. “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 continued: “Jay was an incredible man. He 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. 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. He was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, making movies. And he was magnificent.”
Pickett was best known for portraying Frank Scanlon for 762 episodes of Port Charles, a soap opera that ran on ABC from 1997–2003. His other soap credits include Days of Our Lives and General Hospital, where he played Det. David Harper in 2007 and 2008.
The actor also held one-off guest-appearances on shows like NCIS: Los Angeles, Queen Sugar, The Mentalist and Rosewood, and starred in TV-movies such as Inspired to Kill, 16 and Missing and The Perfect Student.
He is survived by his wife, Elena, and their three children, Maegan, Michaela and Tyler.