It’s more often than not the person with the happiest smile, the sweetest charm, the strongest love to give goes through the most private and shocking pain. Kristoff St. John, star of the long-running soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless,’ was no exception. On Sunday, February 3rd, St. John passed away at the age of 52. He was found dead in his home in San Fernando Valley, California, and was pronounced dead on the scene- his cause of death has been deferred “pending additional investigation” after an autopsy was completed on Monday.
“He was so loving and not afraid to show it”, Stephanie Sloane, editorial director of Soap Opera Digest, told PEOPLE magazine, “but I think that just proves that you never really can know someone’s pain”.
Kristoff married professional boxer Mia St. John in 1991 and had two children with her: a daughter named Paris (born 1992) and a son named Julian(born 1989). Although Mia and Kristoff remained close, they divorced in 1995. Their son, Julian, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17 and suffered through severe depression. He became suicidal while off his medication and abused methamphetamine, wrote Mia St. John in the Washington Post in 2015. In the summer of 2014, Mia and Kristoff checked their son Julian into Telecare’s La Casa Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in Long Beach, California.
On November 23, 2014, Mia and Kristoff received a phone call that their 24 year old son was dead. He was found unresponsive in the bathroom of the Mental Health facility and his death was ruled a suicide. The couple filed a lawsuit against the rehabilitation center, alleging that the center provided inadequate mental health care and allowed their son access to the item he used to kill himself.
The news surrounding his son’s death ruined Kristoff as he then became a Survivor of Suicide Loss, someone who is intimately traumatized by someone’s suicide. “Overwhelming guilt about what they should have done more of or less of become daily, haunting thoughts”, wrote Deborah Serani, Psy.D, in Understanding Survivors of Suicide Loss. Although Kristoff was beloved by thousands of fans, burying his own child made him live his worst nightmare.
In 2017, Kristoff underwent psychiatric treatment after a reported scare regarding his mental health. Around the three year anniversary of his son’s suicide, Kristoff reportedly held a gun to his own head and threatened suicide. When the cops arrived, they confiscated 2 guns and placed Kristoff under a 72-hour hold for mental evaluation.
“No parent should ever have to bury their child, and for those who do, it is a nightmare that haunts you forever.” wrote Mia at the time, “The death of our beloved son Julian has taken a toll on both of us. He is an actor and while he may appear whole on the outside, his heart is broken.”
There was no sign of foul play regarding Kristoff’s death, although the cause of his death is still unknown. According to TMZ, the actor had checked himself into UCLA Medical Center a few weeks ago “for depression issues”. Kristoff’s last episode of “The Young and the Restless” aired on Wednesday, February 6th, 2019.
By Ryan Nickerson
Photo credit: JPI