Many of Kristoff St. John’s friends and colleagues spoke out following the news of his unexpected death on Sunday. Now Shemar Moore, who played his brother Malcolm on The Young and the Restless, has broken his silence over the loss.
Amid TMZ‘s new report that St. John had checked into UCLA Medical Center in January to treat depression related to his son’s suicide and had just been released within the last few days, Moore took to Instagram to pay tribute.
“Mr. Kristoff St. John,” an emotional Moore began. “I lost my brother yesterday. I’ve never had a brother, but you were my brother. You showed me the way. You were my mentor. You were my inspiration. You showed me what true talent was. You showed me what humility was. I love you. I hate this. I love you. But I’m going to celebrate all your good. To my Y&R family: Kristoff St. John a.k.a. Neil Winters, celebrate this man. The most popular, iconic black man in soap opera daytime history. Give him that. He earned it.”
Moore told St. John’s family members to “cry your tears. I’m crying right along with you.” He ended by telling St. John to “sleep, man” and “find your peace.” In the caption he promised, “I’ll finish what YOU started.”
Moore shared several other photos, including a Soap Opera Digest cover of the fictional Winters family, the most prominent African-American family on daytime television. It also featured Victoria Rowell as Drucilla and Christel Khalil as Lily.
He also posted photos of them as Neil and Malcolm. St. John joined the cast in 1991, while Moore came on three years later, leaving the show in 2005 for primetime opportunities.
Rowell, who played St. John’s ex-wife on Y&R, also shared tributes to her former co-star.
Khalil, who played St. John’s TV daughter (though there was paternity drama and Moore’s character ended up being the dad), also spoke out. She talked about the “deep pain” St. John was in that “no one could understand.”
Many of St. John’s other co-stars, including Eric Braeden, acknowledged his heartbreak over the death of his son Julian by suicide in 2014.
His heart was broken after his son’s death! He never got over it!
— Eric Braeden (@EBraeden) February 4, 2019
Soap Opera Digest editorial director Stephanie Sloane said St. John “was able to overcome so many things, but the death of Julian was just a breaking point for him in a lot of ways.” In 2017, St. John underwent psychiatric treatment after allegedly threatening to kill himself. “I think that just proves that you never really can know someone’s pain — even though Kristoff actually shared a lot of his suffering with the world. He would be so brutally honest about the trials and tribulations he’d been through in his life and with his children.”
St. John is survived by his fiancée, Kseniya Mikhaleva, as well as daughter Paris with first wife, Mia St. John, and daughter Lola with second wife, Allana Nadal.
An autopsy of the soap star was completed Monday, but a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County medical examiner told People magazine that the cause of death has been deferred pending additional results. The Blast reported that these will include a toxicology report.
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