‘General Hospital’ Star John Reilly Dies at 86

Ellise Shafer
·2-min read

John Reilly, a veteran soap opera actor best known for his role as Sean Donely on “General Hospital,” has died. He was 86.

Reilly’s daughter, actor and TikTok personality Caitlin Reilly, shared the news on Instagram.

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“The brightest light in the world has gone out. Imagine the best person in the world. Now imagine that person being your dad,” Caitlin wrote. “I’m so grateful he was mine. I’m so grateful I got to love him. I’m so grateful I made it in time to hold him and say goodbye. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do, but I know he’ll be with me.”

Born in Chicago, Ill., Reilly began his acting career in the 1960s with small roles on shows like “Death Valley Days,” “Apple’s Way” and “Gunsmoke.” In 1974, he replaced John Colenback as Dr. Dan Stewart on “As the World Turns,” and stayed on the show until 1976. In addition to his roles on television, Reilly also appeared in the films “The Main Event” in 1979 and “Gorp” in 1980.

In 1983, Reilly had a recurring role on the soap opera “Dallas,” and the following year he was cast as Sean Donely on “General Hospital.” He remained on the show until 1994, and later reprised the role in 2008 and 2013. In addition to his work on “General Hospital,” Reilly appeared in several episodes of “Beverly Hills, 90210” as Kelly Taylor’s father, and took over the role of Alistair Crane on the NBC soap opera “Passions” in 2005.

The official “General Hospital” account paid tribute to Reilly on Twitter, writing: “The entire General Hospital family is heartbroken to hear of John Reilly’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”

Reilly is survived by his wife, Liz, five daughters and two grandchildren.

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