It’s a sad day for the world of daytime television. One of its most beloved stars, John Callahan, has passed away just 66 years old. The tragic news was confirmed by John’s ex-wife and former All My Children co-star Eva LaRue, 53. “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,” Eva, who shares daughter Kaya McKenna Callahan, 18, with John, wrote. “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 a**!” she continued, captioning some of the couple’s happier times. Here’s 5 things to know about the soap legend who suffered a massive stroke at his Palm Desert, California home.
1. He was best known for All My Children. John originated the role of magazine publisher Edmund Grey on the long running ABC soap All My Children back in 1992. Edmund had a number of romantic entanglements in Pine Valley — a fictitious suburb of Philadelphia — including one with his real-life ex-wife Eva LaRue, who played Dr. Maria Santos. John remained on the series on-and-off until 2005, when Edmund was shockingly killed off in 2005. AMC went off the hair after a milestone 41 years in 2011.
2. He was a dad. John married his co-star Eva LaRue back in 1996, and the pair welcomed daughter Kaya McKenna Callahan, 18, on Dec. 6, 2001. The teen was selected to volunteer at the Golden Globe Awards by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association after writing a moving tribute about Robin Williams, and is an active traveller just like her parents. “Kaya and I are beyond broken hearted, so stunned, sorry that my thoughts are a mess,” ex-wife Eva’s post also read. “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.”
3. He was close with former co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar. Before Buffy, Sarah got her start on AMC as Susan Lucci‘s daughter Kendall Hart. Starting on the show as a teen, Sarah developed a number of close relationships with cast members off-screen — including John, who she described as a father figure in her moving tribute on Mar. 28. “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),” she began her emotional post, captioning a sweet throwback photo from her grad ceremony. “He stepped into a lot of moments in my life because I didn’t have a father to be there,” she added.”
4. He appeared on other soaps. Prior to his time on AMC, John got his start in soaps as masseuse Leo Russell on ABC’s General Hospital. He then transitioned into primetime with a two year role on Falcon Crest, before returning to the daytime world on Days of Our Lives. He also appeared on Amazon Prime Video’s popular digital soap The Bay as Detective Mackenzie Johnson.
5. He was from New York. John was born December 23, 1953 in Brooklyn, NY and called the city home throughout most of his career: All My Children filmed at ABC’s studios in the Big Apple for most of its run.