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Posted on Aug 2, 2021
Empty Saddles

Jay Pickett 1961- 2021

 Jay Pickett, a veteran soap opera star best known for “Days Of Our Lives” and “General Hospital,” has died at age 60.

The actor’s passing occurred in Idaho while he was shooting a scene for his upcoming western movie, “Treasure Valley,” according to director Travis Mills. Fellow actor and producer Jim Heffel said he had "died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer". He was on his horse and "we were getting ready to do a scene” Mills said.  “He slumped over, a couple cowboys said, ‘Something’s wrong.’”

Friends said Pickett especially enjoyed such roles, which let him combine his acting chops and the rodeo skills of his youth. (Pickett’s brother, Dee Pickett, is a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and nephew Bo Pickett is also a celebrated rodeo tie-down roper. Rodeo professionals Ringo and Rainy Robinson and Lan Larison are also relatives of Pickett’s.)

Although Pickett’s official cause of death has not been announced, Mills said it “appears have been a heart attack” and that “everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive.”

Pickett is perhaps best known for playing Dr. Chip Lakin on the legendary soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” The heartthrob’s other soap credits include “General Hospital” and its spinoff “Port Charles.” The Spokane, Washington native also had guest parts in acclaimed TV dramas such as “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Dexter,” “The Mentalist” and “Rosewood.”

Pickett’s co-stars were devastated over the TV veteran’s loss. “The sudden passing of my pal Jay Pickett Is very sad,” tweeted Kin Shriner, who starred alongside Pickett on “General Hospital. “He loved acting and Westerns, and when we got together we laughed a lot . R.I.P. Jay.” Mills seconded his sentiment, writing, “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.” He concluded, “He was doing what he loved: acting, horse back, making movies. And he was magnificent.”

Pickett was raised in Caldwell, and though he lived in Los Angeles at the time of his death, he still had strong ties to Idaho.

Pickett was the middle child of five siblings. He graduated from Vallivue High School in 1980 and attended Treasure Valley Community College and Boise State University, where he studied theater arts and played football for the Broncos. Pickett met his wife, Elena, at TVCC. The pair had three children: Maegan (Ashley), Michaela and Tyler.

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