For decades, fans have been tuning in every afternoon to watch the dramatic lives of the residents of Port Charles, New York. General Hospital has been a core part of ABC’s afternoon lineup for sixty years. The iconic soap opera used to be accompanied by All My Children and One Life to Live. However, the dwindling popularity of soap operas led to the cancellation of both of those shows in 2011.
Sadly, on October 31, we learned that beloved General Hospital actor, Tyler Christopher, had passed away at just 50 years old. Christopher was a member of the GH family for two decades. He played Connor Bishop, then took on the role of Nikolas Cassadine, which is the role that he became the most well-known for.
News of Christopher’s death was shared by his General Hospital costar, Maurice Bernard. Bernard starred alongside Christopher throughout his 20 years, as Bernard has played Sonny Corinthos for thirty years.
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Tyler Christopher. Tyler passed away this morning following a cardiac event in his San Diego apartment. Tyler was a truly talented individual that lit up the screen in every scene he performed and relished bringing joy to his loyal fans through his acting. Tyler was a sweet soul and wonderful friend to all of those who knew him. Tyler was an advocate for better mental health and substance use treatment who openly spoke about his struggles with bipolar depression and alcohol. We are beyond devastated by the loss of our dear friend and pray for his children and his father.
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Bernard said that Christopher’s death was due to a cardiac event. We have learned more specifics, and the sad story has taken an even sadder turn.
The San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office has released its final findings. The coroner stated that Christopher had died due to “positional asphyxiation due to acute alcohol intoxication.”
In layman’s terms, that means that Mr. Christopher suffocated because of the way his body was positioned. And alcohol was the reason that he was in the position he was when he passed away.
Related: Another Beloved ABC Actor Dead at 50
The Medical Examiner also said that coronary artery atherosclerosis was a contributing factor to the actor’s death. Coronary artery atherosclerosis is a buildup of fats, cholesterol, and plaque along the arterial walls. That causes the walls to constrict, which restricts blood flow to and from the heart, so it has to work harder to function.
Tragically, Christopher’s passing came after some intense struggles with alcohol addiction. He nearly lost his life in 2019, when he was dealing with severe withdrawal symptoms. He fell, hit his head, and needed life-saving surgery to stop the internal bleeding. Christopher was also arrested for public intoxication in 2021 at the Hollywood/Burbank airport.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please know that there is help available. The National Substance Abuse Hotline has counselors standing by 24 hours per day. You can reach them at 1-800-662-4357.
Our deepest sympathies remain with the family and friends of Tyler Christopher.