As fans and those in the entertainment industry continue to mourn the loss of Jay Pickett, questions continue to surround his death. The longtime soap star, known for his work on shows such as General Hospital and Days of Our Lives, died on Friday, July 30, in Idaho at the age of 60. Although an official cause of death has not been released, it is believed that Pickett died of a heart attack.
Pickett died on an Idaho movie set while filming the upcoming movie Treasure Valley, which he wrote the screenplay for and starred in. According to Travis Mills, the film's director, Pickett "passed away suddenly" while he and the crew "were on location preparing to film a scene." Pickett's Treasure Valley co-star Jim Heffel further explained that Picket "died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie Treasure Valley in Idaho. The way of a true cowboy." In his Facebook post confirming Pickett's passing, Mills wrote that while "there is no official explanation" for the cause of Pickett's death, "it appears to have been a heart attack." Mills wrote that "everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive." Further details have not been released and it is unclear if Pickett's family will release his official cause of death.
"As so many of us know, Jay was an incredible man. He was kind, sweet, and generous. He was one of the best actors I ever worked with and it was an honor to collaborate with him," Mills continued in his post, which was shared on the Treasure Valley Facebook page. "Everyone who met him, even for the briefest moment, could feel his warmth, his wonderful spirit. It is difficult to find the words right now to say more. His closest friends have said that he was very happy making Treasure Valley and my hope is that he truly was. He was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, making movies. And he was magnificent."
Born on Feb. 10, 1961, in Spokane, Washington, Pickett grew up in Caldwell, Idaho and began his career in the '80s with appearances on series like Rags to Riches and China Beach. His career in daytime drama began in the early '90s, when he appeared as Dr. Chip Lakin in Days of Our Lives, a role he held for two years beginning in 1991. He went on to play Frank Scanlon in over 700 episodes of Port Charles, the General Hospital spin-off that ran from 1997 to 2003. He later starred as Detective David Harper in General Hospital from 2006 until 2008. His other credits include NCIS: Los Angeles, Queen Sugar, The Mentalist, Rosewood, Inspired to Kill, 16 and Missing, and The Perfect Student.
CNN reported that Pickett's death was confirmed by his wife, Elena Pickett. The actor is survived by Elena, who he married in 1985, and their three children – Maegan, 35, Michaela, 29, and Tyler, 15.