General Hospital star John J. York opened up about being diagnosed with a blood and bone marrow disorder — and having to take a break on the show he has appeared on since 1991.
“I said I was going to give you an update on the reason I’m taking a little hiatus from General Hospital and here it is,” York, 64 — who portrays Malcolm Scorpio on the daytime soap opera — shared in a video posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, September 13. “So last December 2022, I was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, and multiple smoldering myeloma — two blood and bone marrow disorders.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of cancers that occur when immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not become healthy blood cells. Multiple smoldering myeloma is a precancerous condition that alters certain proteins in blood and can increase plasma cells in bone marrow, per the outlet.
“Over the past many months, I’ve had three bone marrow biopsies, many chemo treatments — I have another one coming up in a couple of weeks — and I’m closing in on a blood stem cell transplant,” the actor continued. “I’ve been working with some wonderful people at Be the Match in order to find a potential donor on their registry. … I just want to say thanks for all the support over the years. This isn’t goodbye, this is just so long. You know I’ll have to take a break for at least three, maybe four months, but I’ll be back.”
On Friday, September 22, York revealed that he has received some promising news in regards to finding a donor.
“I believe they found a match, a perfect match, which will make me cry,” he shared on Good Morning America. “So we’re going to start our testing and all that kind of stuff coming up here, in about a week. I believe the transplant will happen in November.”
York got emotional when talking about what he would say to the potential donor.
“Thank you for saving my life. For letting me spend more time with my wife, my daughter, my son-in-law, my grandchildren, seeing this beautiful blue sky,” he explained.
News of York’s potential donor comes shortly after his General Hospital costar Billy Miller — who appeared as Jason Morgan and Drew Cain on the daytime soap — died by suicide at on Friday, September 15. He was 43. A rep confirmed to Us Weekly that Miller had been struggling with manic depression at the time of his death. Miller’s mother, Patricia Miller, shared that her son had battled bipolar depression for years.
Following the tragic news, General Hospital star Maurice Benard — who plays Sonny Corinthos on the show — opened up about mental health in an important message to fans.
“Since the pandemic, I have been speaking out on suicide quite a lot,” Bernard, 60, shared via Instagram on Tuesday, September 19. “In the beginning, I was hesitant. I didn’t know how people would handle it. But it’s been very encouraging so I have not stopped talking about it! It’s really hard to understand mental illness unless you have experienced the depths of pain that comes with it.”
Bernard — who detailed his journey with bipolar disorder in his 2020 memoir, Nothing General About It — continued: “If you know anyone who is going through any kind of darkness, chaos, pain … Just know, all you can do is give them love, patience, understanding, and hopefully professional help if they agree.” He concluded the post with a message to anyone suffering:
“If you’re feeling in any kind of way, like life is not worth living for, don’t think twice to talk to someone, take it from the most fragile person in the world you can get through it,” he wrote. “And life has a way of rewarding you.”