"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," Moore says.
According to TMZ, who first reported the news Monday morning, St. John was found dead in his San Fernando Valley home on Sunday. There reportedly was no sign of foul play, but a source told the publication that alcohol may have been involved. He was 52.
The soap actor had a tragic history with suicide and mental illness, having lost his son, Julian, who took his own life in 2014 at the young age of 24. Back in 2017, St. John threatened to kill himself with a gun and was placed under a 72-hour psychiatric hold. A source also told TMZ that St. John checked himself into UCLA Medical Center for depression last month and had just recently been released. St. John is survived by his fiancée, Kseniya Mikhaleva, and his two daughters, Paris and Lola, from previous relationships.
St. John's sudden passing shocked Hollywood and beyond. It soon became a trending topic on Monday, as many stars shared their sadness over St. John's death.
In a lengthy statement to People, Moore, 48, tearfully mourned his friend and expressed how the late actor not only influenced his career but "opened doors" for many others in the craft. Moore and St. John both starred opposite one another on "The Young & the Restless," the show where St. John has played Neil Winters since 1991. Moore played his half-brother, Malcolm Winters.
Read the full tribute below:
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.
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. 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.
Without Kristoff St. John, there's no Neil Winters. Without Neil Winters, there's no opportunity for Malcolm Winters. And without Malcolm Winters, there's no Shemar Moore. And if Shemar Moore didn't get my chance to try on "The Young & the Restless," then I don't sit here today with let alone this career or this life. Not in this way. And I will give Kristoff, and I always have given Kristoff -- and I'm not just saying this to be cute because of what's happening today —-- I told him in the beginning because he embraced me the way he embraced me is the only reason that I have the life and career that I have.
I would have life, but it would have been on a very different tangent and a very different lane. I will always give Kristoff that credit. I will always thank "The Young & the Restless" for taking a chance on me so that I can have this career. Kristoff was there in the trenches with me. Victoria Rowell, Tonya Lee Williams, but Kristoff, day to day to day, he rooted for me. He didn't have to. He didn't have to, and many wouldn't, but he rooted for me; he helped me; he held my hand; he said, "Stick with me, bruh, I'm going to show you the way and then you do what you're doing."
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 opened doors and he was so committed to his craft. He always wanted to be better. He wanted to touch people and he did.
He's clearly been through a shit ton of adversity. He lost his son -- you don't wish that on your worst enemy. He had his issues, but he was strong, he persevered.
I think yesterday, he was tired -- he was just really tired and I'm sorry I couldn't have been there more. It's not my fault, it's not anybody’s fault. But as sad as it is, and it's f--king sad, like I said, it hasn't sat with me. But his heart was undeniable. He's a goofy motherf--ker, he's a silly goofy motherf--ker. He's so goofy...He's a silly dude, but he's so talented.
This is not how he's going to be remembered in his last days. He's going to be remembered for his journey, for how much he loved his children -- Paris, Lola, and Julian, his son who had a hard time and took his life. And Kristoff, he weathered that storm and he loved me and he loved Allana and his current fiancée, I don’t know her name -- I never met her -- but I was just excited him to see him in love again, just in love, somebody to share his heart with.
With everything I've done, I've just wanted to make him proud and he's always let me know how proud of me he is. I'm just so proud to have come into his life, worked with him on stage. This sucks, this f--king sucks. I love him. I miss him, but I will always celebrate him and everything I do will be with the intent to make him proud.
St. John's shocking death was also a topic discussed on "The Talk" Monday. Co-host Sheryl Underwood, who has appeared on "The Young and the Restless" expressed her sadness over the actor's passing and how she believed his son's suicide ultimately contributed to his own death.
"I believe Kristoff St. John died of a broken heart," Underwood said. "I do not believe he ever got over the death of his son five years ago. And he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and the struggles that a lot of people deal with. Even his character portrayed some of the struggles he was dealing with himself."
She continued, "For all of us that loved him, and watched him grow up in the business because we saw him as a young man doing commercials and being in sitcoms and movies and then go on to be on soaps and be an integral part of the foundation of 'The Young and the Restless' and Genoa City family, our hearts are broken as well. CBS Daytime has lost one of our own. While we pray the strength of the St. John family, we want them to know how much we appreciate the time we had with him. That we were better for it, to be in his presence. He was a good man, a great father, a great husband and very well loved in this business. We wish him peace."
Yvette Nicole Brown, who also starred on the popular soap, wrote a lengthy tribute to her friend on Instagram. "I am still trying to process the news that this dear, dear man is gone," she captioned the pic. "Forgive me if what I say here doesn't come together just right, but I have to say something about @kristoffstjohn."
"He deserves as loving a tribute as my early morning sadness can muster," she continued. "#KristoffStJohn was love. Just pure and simple: love. He was the kind of person you meet who you feel like you’ve known your entire life. He had a gift for making people feel instantly at ease. He could immediately diffuse any nervousness you had."
Many of St. John's "Y&R" co-stars, including Eileen Davidson, Melody Thomas Scott, Bryton James, Doug Davidson, Alice Hunter, Eric Braeden, Angel Conwell and more, spoke out about their friend's sudden passing. Other members of Hollywood, such as Viola Davis and Vivica A. Fox, have shared their condolences as well.
See the tributes below.
I am still trying to process the news that this dear, dear man is gone. Forgive me if what I say here doesn’t come together just right, but I have to say something about @kristoffstjohn. He deserves as loving a tribute as my early morning sadness can muster. #KristoffStJohn was love. Just pure and simple: love. He was the kind of person you meet who you feel like you’ve known your entire life. He had a gift for making people feel instantly at ease. He could immediately diffuse any nervousness you had. In my case, I was a ball of nerves because I was playing my first role on a soap opera ever...on #YandR which happened to be one of my FAVORITE soap operas...AND I was meeting HIM, who I had been a fan of most of my life. It could have been a scary, heavy moment. Kristoff made it LIGHT. In my character, Lois’ subsequent visits to Genoa City, Kristoff was more of the same. Kind, encouraging, playful, fun and present. He saw me. He saw EVERYONE. He made time for everyone. He celebrated everyone. No matter who you were. He saw you. We spent our last lunch break together (the day this picture was taken) eating with a background actor who had been sitting alone in the commissary. Not on Kristoff’s watch. He called her over to join us and the three of us had an amazing time. She got to geek out and ask every question she had and she and I both properly fan-girled over the gift of this lovely man. Kristoff made that moment happen. He saw her. More importantly he felt her. He didn’t want her to be alone in a new place. He did the same for me. That is who he was a man. He was just GOOD. I am heartbroken to hear that he is gone. So heartbroken. #RIP dear heart. ❤️💔 UPDATE: Please go to @kimfieldsofficial’s page and watch the live she posted. She pays beautiful tribute to her friend from childhood. They first worked together on #Roots2.
GM Dawlings! It is with a very heavy heart that I wake up this morning to hear about the passing of my good friend @KristoffStJohn who I started off my acting career with on the Soap Operas #Generations & #Young&TheRestless and recently #AChristmasCruise WOW! Kristoff I will soo miss u my brotha! U were a true gentleman 4sho! #GONETOSOON #RESTINPARADISE my friend! #Blessed #Respect 😢🤗🙇🏾♀️
I’ll miss you Steel @kristoffstjohn1 💔— Eileen Davidson (@eileen_davidson) February 4, 2019
My heart is with the family and loved ones of Kristoff St. John. Sending you strength and healing. May he be met with the comforting arms of his beloved son and may their gentle souls rest together for eternity 🙏🏽 https://t.co/9ZistnNghK— Alice Hunter (@itsalicehunter) February 4, 2019
This Breaks my Heart: "Young and the Restless" Star Kristoff St. John Sadly Found Dead.— Stan Shaw (@StanShaw1) February 4, 2019
Kristoff played my Grandson on Roots2, I love this kid. He was a wonder kid, a great actor and an awesome man. I'd spoken with him recently. I'm just devastated! #RIP Beautiful soul, miss you! pic.twitter.com/Vevsvqq38f
Stunned. About 15 years ago I wrote about being an extra on @YandR_CBS . He was waiting on the set to greet me along with Victoria Rowell. Such a gracious man. My condolences to his family. https://t.co/s4OZvpz9FD— Leslie Streeter (@LeslieStreeter) February 4, 2019
I cant do this justice; I think I’m still in shock. What are we all going to do without him? Without his talent, grace, kindness, wisdom, sincerity, humor, total command of whatever room he stepped into, on screen or off. This one is going to hurt. RIP, Kristoff. I’ll miss you. pic.twitter.com/zRjQNE4Hnu— Scott Clifton (@CliftonsNotes) February 4, 2019
Kristoff St. John was such a kind man and a very dear friend to me and so many at Y&R. My late husband Ron and Kristoff just adored each other too. He will be missed terribly. pic.twitter.com/9tQOpoRiNx— KATE LINDER (@KATELINDER) February 4, 2019
So unbelievably heartbroken by the passing of my dear friend Kristoff St.John. I loved him so much! He was such a wonderful man! @kristoffstjohn1 I hope you are dancing with the angels… https://t.co/e7bOVTNAB2— Adrienne Frantz (@adriennefrantz) February 4, 2019
My good friend and colleague, MY BROTHA, KRISTOFF ST.JOHN , passed away!! No words right now!! pic.twitter.com/um3RVtQYPh— Eric Braeden (@EBraeden) February 4, 2019
Got a story or a tip for us? Email TooFab editors at email@example.com.