Degrassi fans are mourning the death of Neil Hope, who played the character Derek “Wheels” Wheeler on the long-running show, as the news broke Thursday the teen star had died in 2007.
Reports suggest Hope died at age 35 on Nov. 25, 2007, of natural causes in Hamilton. His death was only made public today.
According to TVRage.com:
Actor Neil Hope, of Degrassi fame, had passed away due to natural causes over 5 years ago.
The actor has not been seen or heard from for many years from his Degrassi co-stars. Rumors have circulated for years about his whereabouts, but a family spokesperson has come forward, confirming that the actor had in fact passed away due to natural causes at the age of 35.
In a statement to TVRage, his fiance Christina Boulard said this:
"The family regrets to announce that Neil passed away in Hamilton, Ontario on November 25, 2007 of natural causes. There was some confusion regarding his passing that they do not wish to go public with, which is why they are only announcing his death now to the public and the media."
Neil was proceeded into death by his father and his brother Brian.
Five years later??
ETA: I find it strange that on his imdb message board, someone already reported this a month ago...why is it only making news today?
Also on Stefan Brogren's twitter today, he posted "RIP Neil"...did he not already know?
And one more thing - I watched a CBC or CTV special last year, hosted by Stefan and I know that he interviewed Neil in part of that episode, and I swear it was filmed post-2007, but of course I can't find any trace of this show online now...I'm confused :(
ETA again: I'm even more confused - the updated articles say that he was very private, fine, but if he died who ID'd his body? Wouldn't the cops be required to notify his family? It's not like he was unidentifiable? And if he was buried in 2008, who buried him if nobody knew he was dead?!