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Pickett’s death was announced on Facebook by Jim Heffel, his co-star and fellow producer on Treasure Valley. Pickett was portraying a cowboy in search of his long-lost daughter in the movie, which he also wrote.
“I lost a good friend and the world lost a great person,” Heffel wrote. “Jay Pickett decided to ride off into the Heavens. Jay died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie Treasure Valley in Idaho. The way of a true cowboy.”
Travis Mills, another Treasure Valley producer, wrote Sunday on Facebook that “there is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack. Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive. Our hearts are broken and we grieve for his family who are so devastated by this shocking tragedy.
“He was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, making movies. And he was magnificent.”
Born on Feb. 10, 1961, in Spokane, Washington, Jay Harris Pickett was raised in Caldwell, Idaho. He attended Boise State University and UCLA.
Pickett began showing up on television starting in the late ’80s on such shows as China Beach, Mr. Belvedere, Jake and the Fatman and Matlock before playing Dr. Chip Lakin on NBC’s Days of Our Lives in 1991-92.
He portrayed paramedic and substitute teacher Frank Scanlon on ABC’s Port Charles during its 1997-2003 run and Det. David Harper on ABC’s General Hospital from 2007-08.
Pickett also wrote, starred in and produced the 2012 feature Soda Springs, a Western featuring Tom Skerritt, and had guest shots on Dexter, The Mentalist, NCIS: Los Angeles, Rosewood and Queen Sugar.
Survivors include his wife, Elena; their three children, Maegan, Michaela and Tyler; and his siblings Dee, Rich, Ginna and Jan.
A memorial service will take place Aug. 20. Service details and live stream information can be found at www.nampafuneralhome.com.
Aug. 15 Service details and survivor information added.
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