'Young and the Restless' actress Jennifer Leak dies at 76, ex-husband Tim Matheson mourns loss

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Tim Matheson is saying goodbye to his ex-wife Jennifer Leak D'Auria, who died March 18 at 76.

The "Virgin River" star, who plays Vernon "Doc" Mullins on the Netflix hit, mourned the loss of his former spouse, who starred in "The Young and The Restless," on his social media pages Wednesday.

"It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of Jennifer Leak's passing. She wasn't just my screen sister in 'Yours, Mine and Ours,' but also my beloved first wife," Matheson posted.

"Jennifer was a remarkable woman, strong, lovely, and incredibly talented. My deepest condolences go out to her husband of 47 years, James D'Auria and their multitude of friends," he continued.

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Leak was later known by her married name Jennifer Leak D'Auria after marrying James D’Auria. According to an obituary posted in The East Hampton Star, she had been battling a rare disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, for the past seven years.

D’Auria told the paper his wife was "a shy and private person, never desiring to be the center of attention or having the need for an audience. She saved those feelings and exhibited them only when on camera, and then she became electric."

Tim Matheson, pictured here, is mourning the loss of his "beloved" ex-wife, former soap opera star Jennifer Leak D'Auria.
Tim Matheson, pictured here, is mourning the loss of his "beloved" ex-wife, former soap opera star Jennifer Leak D'Auria.

Leak D'Auria first rose to fame in the 1968 film "Yours, Mine and Ours." She starred on popular series including “Hawaii Five-0,” “Nero Wolfe,” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show," according to her obituary. Leak D'Auria was also cast on the NBC daytime soap "Bright Promise," with her husband telling the paper that it "became her favorite medium and what she loved performing in most."

For three years, she starred as a cast member on “The Young and the Restless” as Gwen Sherman and spent another three-year stint on "Another World" as Olive Randolph.

Leak was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy and later began participating in clinical research programs at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, according to the obituary. Her brain tissue will be donated to the Mayo Clinic for continued research.

“Her courage and bravery tried in vain to fight the disease,” her husband told the outlet.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jennifer Leak dead: Ex-husband mourns Young and the Restless star