Joseph Mascolo, the actor who portrayed archvillain Stefano DiMera top top the NBC soap opera “Days of our Lives,” died at 87 after ~ a battle with alzheimer’s disease, according to the network.

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Joseph Mascolo die after fight with Alzheimer"s disease, NBCUniversal says

Actor was best known for play Stefano DiMera ~ above "Days of our Lives"

Joseph Mascolo, the actor who depicted archvillain Stefano DiMera top top the NBC soap opera “Days of ours Lives,” died this week in ~ 87 ~ a fight with alzheimer disease, the network said.

Mascolo passed away Wednesday, but NBCUniversal announced his death Friday.

He join the daytime drama in 1982 and also was featured intermittently till his critical appearance this year.

“Joseph to be a huge ‘ol bear v a puppy dog heart. I’m so blessed come have had these plenty of years v him. I will miss out on him every day,” said his wife, Patricia Schultz-Mascolo, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Mascolo had many roles in a decades-long acting career yet was best known together DiMera, a villain also known as “The Phoenix” for plenty of dramatic comebacks from an alleged demise. That won three Soap Opera Digest awards for exceptional villain.

Joseph Mascolo's impact on #DAYS will never ever be forgotten. Look earlier at his memorable performance as Stefano DiMera. Https://

— work of our lives (
nbcdays) December 10, 2016

the last appeared on the present in January, when his character supposedly was shot come death. Naturally fans wondered whether “The Phoenix” would rise again, but Mascolo hinted otherwise.

“Last spring, I had a tiny stroke,” that told Soap Opera Digest in January. “During mine rehab, I thought this would certainly be a an excellent time because that Stefano come leave.

“The producers went to me and we resolved a tentative plan, and the writers beefed increase the storyline come what you see on TV.”

mental Mascolo

News of his fatality spread on society media, and also fellow co-stars and fans expressed your condolences.

“It i will not ~ be the same,” tweeted Thaao Penghlis, an gibbs who has actually played the characters Andre and Tony DiMera on “Days.”

It won't it is in the same.

— Thaao Penghlis (
ThaaoPenghlis) December 10, 2016

“So lengthy Joe. I’ll miss you, however a part of girlfriend will constantly be through me and also for that beautiful gift ns am for this reason happy and also grateful” posted James Scott, that played Stefano’s son EJ DiMera top top the soap.

Eileen Davidson, who portrayed Kristen DiMera, tweeted: “Very sad come hear the the passing of the good Joe Mascolo. God bless him and keep him.”

Condolences! such a dynamic & unforgettable dad & daughter team! The Phoenix will constantly rise!

— Justin wear (
RaymondJustinW1) December 10, 2016

“Just favor sand through the hour glass so room the days of our lives. #JosephMascolo RIP,” posted a fan.

Just choose sand through the hour glass so space the work of our lives #JosephMascolo RIP

— Joe Teffo (
SirJoeTeffo) December 10, 2016

Musician rotate actor

Born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, Mascolo didn’t initially have acting in mind. In college he studied timeless music and had dreams of becoming a conductor, according to his official website. A drama coach overhead his booming basso voice and also encouraged him to explore acting.

His exhilaration career began when he joined an off-Broadway manufacturing of “The Threepenny Opera.”

coming to be a daytime drama villain

Mascolo showed up in a wide-range of tv shows, consisting of “All in the Family” and “The Gangster Chronicles,” before moving come daytime drama.

“Days” no Mascolo’s only soap. He had a brief function on “General Hospital” in 1989 and also a recurring function in “The Bold and also the Beautiful” native 2001 come 2006.

Mascolo is endured by his wife, his son, stepdaughter, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.’s Mayra Cuevas, Joe Sutton and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

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