Heartbreaking Soap Opera FatalitiesPublished on January 30, 2018. Updated October 21, 2022
Soap opera fans have become seriously attached to their favorite characters, after all, they have spent months, maybe even years, falling in love with them. That’s why a death on daytime drama can be a devastating blow to viewers, especially if it is unexpected. Below are soap opera’s truly heartbreaking fatalities of all time.
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13. DOOL’s Arianna Hernandez
Days of Our Lives (DOOL) fans love the Hernandez clan. Siblings Rafe, Gabi, and Dario have an amazing bond and parents Adrianna and Eduardo are quite the characters. But, does anyone remember the fourth child to the family? Arianna Hernandez was the sister to Gabi, Rafe, and Dario and made quite the impact on Days. She had an incredible love affair with Brady Black, a nice friendship with Melanie Jonas, and was a feisty and strong-willed young lady. She passed away tragically in 2010 when she was hit by a car. To add a layer to her demise, she was the only one who knew and could incriminate Sami Brady when it came to the E.J.’s shooting before she passed away.
12. GH’s Courtney Matthews
Speaking of soap opera siblings, General Hospital’s (GH) Courtney Matthews was the opposite to half-brother Sonny Corinthos. She was good, sweet, and walked on the right side of the law. Sadly, Courtney passed in 2006 when she fell victim to the encephalitis plague that hit the town of Port Chuckles. She was expecting at the time with Spencer Cassadine and passed away a little after he was born. The demise was devastating for her family and friends, not to mention GH fans everywhere.
11. Y&R’s John Abbott
It’s hard not to reminisce about The Young and the Restless’ (Y&R) John Abbott as of late. With his ex-wife Dina in town and all the hoopla and history that is coming up with her visit, Y&R fans can’t help but miss the Abbott patriarch even more. Sadly, his passing was underwhelming on so many levels. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for axing bad guy Tom Fisher. His health was deteriorating while in jail and his son Jack was doing all he could to get his dad released early. Things began to look good, and it seemed as if John was going to be back in Genoa City and soon. Sadly, just as he was ready to be released, the older man suffered a stroke and passed away shortly after.
10. DOOL’s Dr. Daniel Jonas
In late 2015, Days’ fans were heartbroken to learn that everyone’s favorite doctor in Salem was leaving the show. Coming to terms with that, fans wondered what his exit would look like. Many were hoping that Dr. Daniel Jonas would leave town, or something along those lines so he could return to the show someday, but that didn’t happen. Jonas said goodbye in the most underwhelming of ways. In early 2016, he was involved in a drunk driving accident where an inebriated Eric Brady was at the helm. Jonas was pronounced deceased on January 6th of that year and his heart was given to Brady, who desperately needed it to stay alive. The land of soap operas can really bring any character back, but with Daniel’s heart in Brady’s body, this would be a very hard thing for DOOL writers to do.
9. GH’s Dominique Stanton Baldwin
Digging deep into the GH history vault, there is a passing that shook the little town of Port Charles. Dominque Baldwin was a sweet and caring lady who was not only able to change slimy Scotty Baldwin’s attitude but his troublemaking sidekick Lucy Coe as well. Sadly, Dominque was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away in 1993. The only silver lining to this passing was that she got to hear her baby’s heart beat (Lucy acted as the couple’s surrogate) before her demise.
8. Y&R’s Colleen Carlton
In the summer of 2009, Colleen Carlton was struggling with a lot. She had become Victor Newman’s number one enemy, and his main focus was to ruin her life. She was also still trying to get over the demise of her dad, which happened earlier that year. She had a lot on her plate, and the events that would unfold in August ended up stunning viewers. Colleen was kidnapped by resident lunatic Patty Williams and while trying to escape, Colleen drowned in a nearby lake. Underwhelming on so many different levels. The irony of it all? Colleen’s heart was given to Victor (of all people) whose life was in jeopardy and needed a transplant.
7. DOOL’s Abigail Deveraux
Much to the dismay of DOOL fans, Abigail was fatally stabbed in 2022. Viewers hope that maybe she’ll have the ability to one day return from the afterlife, much like her father, Jack, when he somehow survived an elevator plunge and returned several years afterward. Never mind that Abigail has also made a ghostly appearance already, just like dear old dad — because no one’s ever really gone in Salem!
6. GH’s Duke Lavery
Duke Lavery was a character that seemed to have nine lives as he had passed away on the show a couple of times before returning to Port Charles. However, it does seem like Lavery ran out of luck in 2015. Anna and Duke had finally reunited and decided they were going to skip town for good so that he could leave his mob days well behind him. Sadly, Lavery was shot before the GH super couple could live their happily ever after.
5. Y&R’s Brad Carlton
How many Y&R fans balled their eyes out when Brad Carlton passed away? Tons most likely as Carlton was a fan favorite of the show, living in Genoa City for decades. Brad walked that fine line between good and bad, but for the most part, he had a heart of gold. Much like his daughter Colleen, Brad drowned in a lake; however, while Colleen was escaping a crazy person, Brad passed away trying to save Noah Newman. As it was winter time, Brad was found frozen under a sheet of ice. Tragic and saddening for many Y&R fans.
4. GH’s Alan Quartermaine
Alan was a beloved GH character with a long history on the show. It was a hard watch for many fans to see him suffer a heart attack and be denied medical attention during the 2007 Metro Court Hotel hostage storyline. His health deteriorated rapidly and Alan passed away shortly after the incident. The only nice part of all this is that Alan would still visit in ghost form, until actor Stuart Damon passed away in 2021.
3. Y&R’s Cassie Newman
The passing of Cassie Newman changed the Y&R landscape significantly and the event was not only an overarching story within the soap, but it helped to break other mini-storylines within Genoa City. Cassie was quite young at the time of her demise and was loved by many fans who had seen the cute five-year-old grow into a beautiful young teen. She passed away due to a car crash and there wasn’t a Y&R fan across North America who didn’t cry their eyes out during that infamous 2005 scene, where Cassie told both Nick and Sharon that they were destined to have another little girl someday.
2. DOOL’s Bo Brady
Bo Brady has always been one of DOOL’s favorite characters. In 2012, the character was written out of storylines without any real explanation as to why. For years, audiences wondered what really happened to Bo and why he was taken off the show without a proper goodbye. When it was announced that Peter Reckell was reprising the part in late 2015 for DOOL’s 50th-anniversary celebration, fans rejoiced everywhere — until Bo returned and then some days later passed away from a brain tumor. Such a heartbreaker!
1. Y&R’s Delia Abbott
Delia Abbott was a feisty little girl who touched the hearts of many in Genoa City and Y&R audiences as well. The little girl had just survived cancer a year early, which made her demise in 2013 that much more disliked by fans. Delia passed away from a hit-and-run accident at the hands of a distracted Adam Newman. On top of that, daddy Billy was guilt-ridden as he had left his daughter in the car while running into a store quickly to grab ice cream. Had he not, Dee-Dee might still be alive and Billy struggled with this idea for months and years afterward.