The Young and the Restless is saying goodbye to Neil Winters this week, just two months after actor Kristoff St. John’s sudden death.
Beginning on Tuesday, April 23, the long running CBS soap opera will pay tribute to the late actor with a four-episode story arc. Airing Tuesday through Friday, the episodes will see Neil's friends and family gathering in the fictional Genoa City to send off the character after they learn that he has died.
People need "to prepare themselves for a very profoundly emotional journey over those four days, and have lots of boxes of Kleenex right by," head writer Josh Griffith told USA Today of the tribute episodes. “But in the end, as we knew that Kristoff would want it, it goes from being a passing of him to a celebration of his life."
In a short preview clip, titled “Remembering Neil Winters,” fans were given their first glimpse of the solemn event.
“I don’t know if I would even be here right now without him,” Nikki Newman (Melody Scott Thomas) says.
“I don’t want to think about a world without Neil Winters in it,” Neil Winters’ half-brother Malcom Winters (Shemar Moore) states.
Moore, who left the series in 2014, will join a number of other returning alumni, including Christel Khalil and Eileen Davidson. St. John’s Roots: The Next Generations co-star and friend Stan Shaw will star in the tribute episodes as he reverend at Neil's funeral.
St. John’s Young and the Restless storyline will conclude Monday, April 29 with a special paying tribute to the late actor and his time on the series, which he had joined 28 years ago and in which he starred up until his death at the age of 52. The special will feature clips from the late actor’s time on the soap opera as well as current and former cast members sharing memories of him.
St. John passed away on Feb. 3 after being found unconscious and unresponsive in his San Fernando Valley home. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner determined his death to be from hypertrophic heart disease by way of alcohol abuse.
Following his death, it had been revealed that The Young and the Restless were in the process of developing a storyline to honor St. John and his onscreen counterpart, with CBS stating that “The Young and the Restless will forever value the legacy of Kristoff St. John in his portrayal of Neil Winters.”
The Young and the Restless airs weekdays at 11:30 a.m. ET on CBS.