'Days of Our Lives' Star Joseph Mascolo Dead at 87

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Soap opera icon Joseph Mascolo died on Thursday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Mascolo was best known for playing villain Stefano DiMera on the long-running soap Days of Our Lives. Mascolo joined the show in 1982, and played the role up until the character's death earlier this year.

"It is with great sorrow that we share the news of the passing of our dear friend and beloved member of the Days of our Lives family, Joseph Mascolo," the show's Executive Producer, Ken Corday, said in a statement to Soap Opera Digest. "The smile on Joe's face is something we'd all come to find comfort in, and he will be sorely missed. His larger than life presence, kind heart, and unwavering positivity has impacted us all for decades, and will live on in the memories of his many fans. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time."

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Aside from Mascolo's iconic work on Days of Our Lives, he also had recurring roles on The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital. But he will be most remembered for playing DiMera, a villainous business tycoon.

The show's official Twitter account posted about Mascolo's death on Friday.

"#DAYS actor, Joseph Mascolo, has passed away at the age of 87. Our hearts are with his family," the tweet reads.

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Last December, Days of Our Lives commemorated its 50th anniversary by becoming part of the Smithsonian. The soap holds the record for being NBC's longest-running scripted daytime drama.

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