Beloved daytime star John Callahan, famous for his role as Edmund Grey on ABC's All My Children, died unexpectedly on Saturday morning after he suffered a massive stroke at his home in Palm Desert, California. The New York City native was 66.
According to an official press release, paramedics responded to an emergency call on the morning of Friday, March 27, and rushed the actor to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, where he was put on life support. His daughter, Kaya Callahan, and former wife and All My Children costar, Eva LaRue (ex-Maria Santos), were notified immediately and drove from Los Angeles to Rancho Mirage.
Callahan's death is NOT related to COVID-19, but due to the current hospital safety regulations, the actor's family -- including his daughter -- were only able to see the actor for a limited time before having to exit the hospital. They were then notified of Callahan's passing shortly after midnight by phone.
"We are extremely sadden[ed] and distraught over the loss of John," LaRue says in a statement. "He was my great friend, co-parent, and amazing father to Kaya. The absence of his bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. Words cannot express the shock and devastation we are feeling at this time. The Yankees just lost one of their greatest fans."
A native of New York City, Callahan originally set out to become a lawyer and attended University of California, Berkeley, as a pre-law student. After working through college as a bartender, he landed a job as a nightclub manager and later decided he wanted a career in entertainment.
Callahan broke into the soap opera world in 1984 with the role of Leo Russell, a master masseur, on General Hospital. He followed that up with a two-year appearance as playboy Eric Stavros on the primetime soap Falcon Crest. Callahan returned to daytime in 1989 with the brief role of Days of our Lives' Tyler Malone and the slightly longer role of Santa Barbara's Craig Hunt, which he played until 1991.
Callahan's best-known soap role, however, came in 1992, when he took on the All My Children character Edmund Grey, which he played until 2005. Callahan met LaRue during his time on the Agnes Nixon-created soap opera, where the pair's Pine Valley characters were declared a daytime supercouple.
The actor's post-AMC credits include Desperate Housewives, Watch Over Me, Cold Case, The Bay, and DAYS, where he returned to play the role of Richard Baker from 2008 to 2010.
"Oh my, John was way too young," Wally Kurth (Justin Kiriakis, DAYS; Ned Quartermaine, GH) said in a post on Twitter. "What a loss. Always had a smile on my face while spending time with him. He was a fine actor and my friend. RIP John."
Very sorry to hear about the passing of my scene partner #johncallahan from back on #AMC Always ready with a fun story or joke, a true Irishman. Sending love to #evalarue & his beautiful daughter Kaya ?? rip #johncallahan— Finola Hughes (@finolahughes) March 28, 2020
"So sorry to hear [of] the passing of the man I called 'Callahan,'' Cady McClain (Dixie Cooney, AMC) offered. "He was a remarkable person. Funny, silly, fun. My heart goes out to his daughter and partner in parenting, Eva LaRue."
"Rest In Peace John," Molly Burnett (Melanie Jonas, DAYS) shared. "What a blessing it was to know you."
No information regarding a memorial service for Callahan is available, and his rep reports that no further comments will be made at this time. The family appreciates fans' privacy, positive thoughts, and prayers.
UPDATE (MARCH 30, 2020): Kelly Ripa (Hayley Vaughan Santos) took time at the start of Monday's LIVE! With Kelly and Ryan to discuss Callahan's passing. Ripa called Callahan a "very, very dear friend... a great actor [and] one of the funniest people" she has ever known.
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