Jay Pickett, a veteran soap opera star best known for his roles on shows like “General Hospital” and “Days Of Our Lives,” passed away last week while shooting a movie scene at his home in Idaho. He was 60 years-old.
“Jay was shooting a film that he wrote and was producing and collapsed on set and couldn’t be revived,” Pickett’s rep Marc Chancer told Entertainment Tonight. “I’m totally in shock and devastated. He was not only a client, but he was also a close personal friend. Possibly one of the nicest humans it’s ever been my privilege to know.”
Jim Heffel, Pickett’s friend, co-star and fellow producer on the film Treasure Valley, took to Facebook on Friday to share the devastating news along with some photos from the set.
“Yesterday I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person. Jay Pickett decided to ride off into the Heavens,” Heffel wrote. “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 coproducer with myself and Vernon Walker. He will be truly missed,” he added. “Ride like the wind [partner].”
Fellow co-producer Vernon Walker also took to Facebook to reveal that Pickett was on a horse at the time of his death.
“The three of us were waiting for the camera and director to start filming. Jay was going to rope a calf and Jim and I were going to brand it. Ten minutes after we took the picture of the three of us Jay went to get on the horse he leaned over….. ” Walker recounted. “He was on a horse where he was raised. Filming a movie he wrote. We love him and will forever miss him. The film Treasure Valley is suspended until further notice.”
Travis Mills, the director of Treasure Valley, said on his own Facebook page that “There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack.”
“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 added. “As so many of us know, 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 concluded. “He was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, making movies. And he was magnificent.”
Born in 1961, Pickett made his screen debut in the late 1980s, making many small appearances in film and television roles. He began his soap opera career in 1991, when he got a recurring role on “Days Of Our Lives” that lasted for one year.
Pickett starred as Frank Scanlon on the soap opera “Port Charles” for 762 episodes, from the premiere in 1997 until it ended in 2003. He then was cast as Det. David Harper in “General Hospital” from 2006 until 2008.
Pickett is survived by his wife of nearly 35 years, Elena, as well as their three children.