David Gail, the actor best known for playing Dr. Joe Scanlon (No. 2) on the General Hospital spinoff Port Charles, died on Jan. 16 at age 58.
According to a new release shared by a rep for Gail’s family on Feb. 25, the actor’s official cause of death is “anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a brain injury resulting from lack of blood, following resuscitation from cardio pulmonary arrest due to drug intoxication from substances including amphetamines, cocaine, ethanol and fentanyl.”
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“It breaks my heart to learn that my son died this way,” Gail’s mother Mary Painter said in a statement. “David became reliant on medicine many years ago, after multiple surgeries on his hands and wrists. He lived in enough pain to prevent him from working for almost a decade, with relief only achieved through full disability, physical therapy and pain medicine.
“He struggled to stop taking pharmaceuticals and did before turning toward a more Eastern pain management including acupuncture and natural medicines,” she continued. “I can only assume that his former opioid dependence played a part in self-medicating from uncontrolled sources. David’s death shines a light on the countless innocent victims of pharmaceutical addiction and the fentanyl epidemic that has taken so many of our sons and daughters. Please keep David, and others battling pain or dependence, in your thoughts and prayers.”
The news of Gail’s death was first announced in an Instagram story posted by Peter Ferriero, who hosts a Beverly Hills, 90210 podcast, according to the Soap Opera Network. (Gail recurred on the Fox teen drama as Stuart Carson, a rich heir who was briefly engaged to Shannen Doherty’s Brenda Walsh.)
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Gail succeeded Michael Dietz as Port Charles‘ Dr. Joe Scanlon in July 1999 and held the role until August 2000, when he left the ABC soap. The spinoff took place in the fictional Port Charles, New York and featured longtime GH characters such as Lucy Coe (played by Lynn Herring), Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom), Scott Baldwin (Kin Shriner) and Karen Wexler (Jennifer Hammon/Marie Wilson). The offshoot also introduced new characters along with a supernatural element.
In addition to his roles on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Port Charles, Gail notably played Eddie Bartlett in the syndicated drama Robin’s Hoods and Dean Collins in The WB soap Savannah. He appeared in numerous other TV shows throughout his career, having earned his first acting credit in 1990 for an episode of the ABC sitcom Growing Pains. Gail’s other TV credits include Doogie Howser, M.D., The Round Table, Murder, She Wrote and Matlock.
His most recent TV credit was in 2003, for a Season 8 episode of JAG.
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