General Hospital is saying goodbye to one of its own. Less than a month after former series star Jay Pickett suddenly died at the age of 60, the ABC soap opera on Tuesday paid silent tribute to the actor, who starred as Detective David Harper from 2006 until 2008 and also appeared as Frank Scanlon in over 700 episodes of Port Charles, the General Hospital spin-off that ran from 1997 to 2003. As Tuesday's episode came to a close, a photo of Pickett was displayed on the screen along with the words, "In Loving Memory of Jay Pickett," according to Deadline.
The emotional tribute came just three weeks after Pickett died on an Idaho movie set while shooting the upcoming film Treasure Valley, which he wrote the screenplay for and starred in. According to director and producer Travis Mills, who was first to confirm Pickett's death, the actor "passed away suddenly" while he and the crew "were on location preparing to film a scene." Jim Heffel, Pickett's Treasure Valley co-star, said the actor "died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie Treasure Valley in Idaho. The way of a true cowboy." Mills added that "there is no official explanation" for the cause of Pickett's death," though he said, "it appears to have been a heart attack." Mills said "everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive."
"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. 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," Mills added. "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. While he would go on to star in both General Hospital and Port Charles, his career in daytime soap operas began in the early '90s, when he appeared as Dr. Chip Lakin in Days of Our Lives. His other television credits included Mr. Belvedere, Matlock, Dragnet, Dexter, The Mentalist, and NCIS: Los Angeles.
A celebration of Pickett's life is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 20, at the Nampa Civic Center in Nampa, Idaho. The memorial service will be streamed through the funeral home's website beginning at 4:45 p.m. ET. Pickett is survived by his wife, Elena Pickett, and their three children – Maegan, 35, Michaela, 29, and Tyler, 15.