Jay Pickett, 'General Hospital' Actor, Dies at 60 While Shooting Movie Scene

Jay Pickett
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The veteran soap opera star died during production on a film on Thursday, his co-stars wrote on social media.

Veteran soap opera star Jay Pickett has died. He was 60.

The longtime actor -- best known for his roles on General Hospital, Port Charles and Days of Our Lives -- died on Thursday while shooting a scene for a movie at his home in Idaho.

Pickett's rep, Marc Chancer, confirmed the news to ET on Sunday, sharing, "Jay was shooting a film that he wrote and was producing and collapsed on set and couldn’t be revived."

"I’m totally in shock and devastated," Chancer added. "He was not only a client, but he was also a close personal friend. Possibly one of the nicest humans it’s ever been my privilege to know."

Jim Heffel, Pickett's friend, co-star and fellow producer on the film Treasure Valley, shared the tragic news in a Facebook post on Friday, along with some photos taken from the set of the movie.

"Yesterday I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person. Jay Pickett decided to ride off into the Heavens," Heffel wrote, alongside a series of photos showing Pickett and others on a ranch, in horse-riding gear. "Jay died sitting  on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie Treasure Valley in Idaho. The way of a true cowboy."

"Jay wrote the story and starred in it. He was also coproducer with myself and Vernon Walker. He will be truly missed," Heffel concluded. "Ride like the wind [partner]."

Fellow co-producer Vernon Walker shared the news to Facebook as well, with a heartfelt tribute, writing, "Jay Pickett left us yesterday to be with his parents."

"The three of us were waiting for the camera and director to start filming. Jay was going to rope a calf and Jim and I were going to brand it. Ten minutes after we took the picture of the three of us Jay went to get on the horse he leaned over….. " Walker recalled in the post. "He was on a horse where he was raised. Filming a movie he wrote. We love him and will forever miss him. The film Treasure Valley is suspended until further notice."

Travis Mills, the director of Treasure Valley, shared an official statement on the film's Facebook page, and explained, "There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack."

"Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive. Our hearts are broken and we grieve for his family who are so devastated by this shocking tragedy," Mills' statement continued. "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. 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 concluded. "He was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, making movies. And he was magnificent."

Pickett began his screen acting career in the late 1980s, with small roles on numerous TV shows and movies. He entered the world of soap operas in 1991, with a recurring role on Days of Our Lives that lasted one year.

Pickett joined the cast of Port Charles as Frank Scanlon in its premiere in 1997, and stayed on the show for 762 episodes until its cancellation in 2003. He then joined the cast of General Hospital in 2006 as Det. David Harper, where he appeared until 2008.

Apart from Treasure Valley, Pickett had roles in four films in various stages of post-production that will be released posthumously.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 35 years, Elena, as well as their three children.