The Young & the Restless is honoring the life of Kristoff St. John and his character, Neil Winters

By Christina Dugan
April 10, 2019 10:00 AM
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Kristoff St. John‘s TV family is saying their final goodbye to the late actor in the sweetest way.

Later this month, The Young & the Restless will celebrate the life of St. John — who died at age 52 on Feb. 3 — and his character, Neil Winters, with the return of some of his onscreen family, including Shemar Moore, Victoria Rowell and Mishael Morgan.

In an upcoming episode of Y&R, the cast will gather to remember one of their own when Neil (played by St. John since 1991) dies unexpectedly. Neil’s family and friends come from near and far to pay their respects and remember their beloved father, colleague, brother and friend.

Neil’s family will learn of his passing on the April 23 episode and the storyline will be featured prominently for the remainder of the week.

Moore will reprise his role of Neil’s brother, Malcolm Winters, for two episodes airing April 25 and April 26.

Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

On April 29, Y&R will air a special tribute episode in honor of St. John that will include cast members sharing memories of their dear friend and colleague, along with memorable Neil Winters clips spanning his 27 years on the show. Moore, Rowell (who played Neil’s longtime love, Drucilla Winters) and Morgan participate.

Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

Last month, PEOPLE confirmed that St. John died because of heart disease, which was exacerbated by alcohol use. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office listed his cause of death of “hypertrophic heart disease … and effects of ethanol.” His death was officially ruled an accident.

In early March, he was laid to rest next to the grave of his son Julian St. John, who died by suicide in 2014. Friends and family gathered at the Calvary Community Church in Westlake, California, where he was buried, to celebrate his life.

Following St. John’s death, Moore spoke out about the loss of his dear friend.

Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

“I’m raised an only child, but Kristoff is truly the closest thing to a brother and a brother’s love and a brother’s mentorship that I’ve ever known,” Moore, 48, told PEOPLE about St. John.

Remembering his early days on CBS’ long-running soap opera, Moore recalled St. John coming alongside him and being a strong support system.

“He didn’t have to embrace me the way he did. When I came in and was trying to find my way and he saw how scared I was, he saw how nervous I was,” Moore said. “He saw my six pack and all that, but he just saw me and he embraced me like a brother. If he hadn’t embraced me, I would have never got my sure footing in the beginning days.”

Said Moore, “He was the sexiest black man on television from what my aunties and grandmothers told me before I’d ever knew that I was ever going to share the stage with him on The Young & the Restless.”

“He opened doors for me and many. He opened doors for people who don’t even realize he opened doors, but he did,” he added. “He opened doors and he was so committed to his craft. He always wanted to be better. He wanted to touch people and he did.”

St. John’s storyline on The Young & the Restless will begin Tuesday, April 23 and the special tribute episode will air Monday, April 29, both on CBS.