'I will forever regret not reaching out more': Home and Away star Kristy Wright pays tribute to on-screen lover Ben Unwin after his tragic death at 41 - as a friend says the actor 'felt there was no other way for him'
- The 41-year-old played Jesse McGregor from 1996 until 2000, before returning in 2002 and leaving once again in July 2005
- His on-screen girlfriend Kristy Wright said she 'regrets not reaching out more'
- Another friend, Dan Bennett, hinted that Ben was struggling in his personal life
- 'I'm so sad he felt there was no other way for him. Rest in peace,' tweeted Dan
- If you are struggling, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au
- For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a local branch. See www.samaritans.org for details
Kristy Wright, who played Ben Unwin's girlfriend on Home and Away, has expressed her sadness and regret following the soap actor's death last week at age 41.
Kristy, known for her role as Chloe Richards between 1995 and 1999, revealed in an Instagram post that she was 'heartbroken and shattered' by the news.
'We haven't spoken in a few years and I cannot express in this moment how sorry I am for that,' she wrote alongside a gallery of throwback photos of the pair.
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'I will forever regret not reaching out more': Home and Away star Kristy Wright (left) has paid tribute to her on-screen boyfriend Ben Unwin (right) after his tragic death last week aged 41
Ben played 'bad boy' Jesse McGregor on Home and Away between 1996 and 2000, before returning in 2002 and leaving once again in July 2005.
Kristy had known Ben since 1992, and her character's relationship with Jesse was a major storyline on the Channel Seven series.
According to Kristy, Ben had 'harassed the writers' to create a love story between their characters.
On-screen lovers: Kristy, who played Chloe Richards between 1995 and 1999, revealed in an Instagram post that she was 'heartbroken and shattered' by news of Ben's death. Pictured with Ben on Home and Away in an undated photo
Television role: Ben (centre) played the role of bad boy Jesse McGregor on Home and Away between 1996 and 2005. Pictured with Bec Hewitt (left) and Ada Nicodemou (right)
Kristy wrote: 'I sit here, with tears.. I miss you now that I know I will never see you again... I will forever regret not reaching out more.
'You were one of the most talented people I know, one of the kindest, smartest and funniest. You were a rock star. I'm so sorry. I love you. RIP my old friend.'
Ben's friend, television writer Dan Bennett, also expressed his sadness at the actor's death and hinted that Ben had been struggling in his personal life.
'I'm so sad he felt there was no other way for him. Rest in peace, mate,' Dan tweeted.
'I'm so sad he felt there was no other way for him': Ben's friend, television writer Dan Bennett, also expressed his sadness at the actor's death on Twitter and hinted that Ben had been struggling in his personal life
Summer Bay bad boy: Jesse McGregor was a rebellious figure who lived on the wrong side of the law. The character even spent time in jail for robbery
'My heart goes out to his family': Ada Nicodemou (pictured), who played another of Jesse's girlfriends Leah Patterson-Baker, led the celebrity tributes to Ben on Tuesday
'You forever hold a special place in my heart': Ex-Home and Away star Kimberley Cooper also paid tribute to Ben on Tuesday by sharing this TV Week magazine cover they both appeared on
On Tuesday, Home and Away star Ada Nicodemou, whose character Leah Patterson-Baker also had a relationship with Jesse, led the celebrity tributes to Ben.
She told Daily Mail Australia: 'I just woke up to the tragic news of Ben's passing, my heart goes out to his family.'
Veteran actress Lynne McGranger, who plays Irene Roberts, added: 'What a terrible tragedy. Sending my deepest condolences to his family and friends.'
Kimberley Cooper, who played Gypsy Smith on the popular soap, told News.com.au she was 'just so sad' to hear of Ben's passing.
She said: 'He was a gift to come to work with everyday and to be on the receiving end of his friendship was to know unwavering support, loyalty and love.'
Rest in peace: A Channel Seven spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that Ben's 'time on Home and Away is remembered with respect and affection'. Pictured with Kate Ritchie on May 11, 2003 in Melbourne
Sad news: Channel Seven posted the above on Home and Away's official Instagram page
A Channel Seven spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: 'Cast and crew from Home and Away are saddened to learn of the passing of former cast mate, Ben Unwin.
'Ben's work in the role of Jesse McGregor is remembered with much affection. Ben's family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers.'
NSW Police confirmed Ben's death in a statement to Yahoo! Lifestyle on Tuesday, but did not disclose how the actor died.
A police spokesperson said: 'Police attended Minyon Falls, Whian Whian, responding to a concern for welfare. The body of a 41-year-old man was located. The death has not been treated as suspicious.'
He died at his home last week, shortly before his 42nd birthday.
After retiring as an actor and director, he completed a law degree and was employed as a senior solicitor in Newcastle, NSW, around 160km north of Sydney.
- If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.
- For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a local branch. See www.samaritans.org for details.
- For confidential support in Australia, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au. Alternatively, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
Career change: In 2005, Ben left Home and Away and embarked on a legal career. After completing a law degree, he worked as a senior solicitor in Newcastle. Pictured with his sister