By Rebecca Rubin| Variety

Kristoff St. John, the actor best-known for portraying Neil Winters on CBS’ long-running daytime soap “The Young and the Restless,” has died. He was 52.

His attorney Mark Geragos confirmed the news to Variety. Geragos also posted on Twitter, saying, “Few men had the unique strength, courage & sensitivity that @kristoffstjohn1 lived every single minute of every day. He impacted everyone he met and millions who he inspired and in turn admired him. On behalf of @MiaStJohnBoxer & @TheStJohnFamily thank you for all of your love.”

The Daytime Emmy Awards also noted St. John’s death via Twitter. “It is with unbelievable sadness that we say goodbye to our friend, #DaytimeEmmys winner @kristoffstjohn1. @YandR_CBS RIP.”

CBS and Sony Pictures Television, producer of “Young & the Restless,” called St. John’s death “heartbreaking” in a statement.

St. John received numerous awards, including nine Daytime Emmys, over the 25 years he worked on “The Young and the Restless.” His first major role on a soap opera was on NBC’s “Generations.” The show was canceled in 1991.

St. John’s work on “Young and the Restless” was hailed by fans as he established one of the show’s first major African-American characters. He played a Stanford University graduate and business executive who had many ups and downs in his personal life.

Born July 15, 1966 in New York, St. John began working on the small screen at a young age. He made his television debut (billed as Christoff St. John) at age 7 in the series “That’s My Mama.” St. John played a young Alex Haley in the 1979 miniseries “Roots: The Next Generations.” He was a regular on the 1979-80 CBS comedy series “The Bad News Bears.” He had a small role on “The Cosby Show” as Denise Huxtable’s boyfriend and later worked on the 1985 CBS sitcom “Charlie & Co.”

Through the 1980s and ’90s he logged guest shots on shows ranging from “Jake and the Fatman” and “Diagnosis Murder” to “Suddenly Susan,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Family Matters,” “A Different World,” “Martin,” “Sister, Sister” and “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.”

St. John joined the cast of “The Young and the Restless” in 1991. He won the Daytime Emmy for young actor in a drama series the following year, and took home a statue for supporting actor in a drama series in 2008. He also won the NAACP Image Award for actor in a daytime drama multiple years. He recently starred in Christmas-themed made-for-TV movies for Up (“Marry Us for Christmas” and “A Baby For Christmas”) and ION (“A Christmas Cruise”).

On the film front, St. John’s credits include “The Champ,” “Top of the Heap,” and “Pandora’s Box.”

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