Brookside and Hollyoaks star Kristian Ealey has died at the age of just 38.
The actor and musician made his soap debut in 1998 as Brookside‘s Matt Musgrove before crossing over to fellow Channel 4 serial Hollyoaks with the same character in 2000. The rare move was made possible due to Hollyoaks and the now defunct Brookside sharing a production company.
Matt was involved in a number of money-making schemes and smoked marijuana whilst on the close, before departing in 2000 to live in Chester with his grandfather after his elder brother Luke was revealed to have raped neighbour Nikki Shadwick. The continuation of the character in sister serial Hollyoaks included a long-running romance with Chloe Bruce (Mikyla Dodd) which ended due to his involvement in a counterfeit money scam.
“He was a fantastic actor, but you should have heard him sing. Musically he was so good, he loved to sing and play the guitar. It’s terrible, terrible news. He lived for his young son Jakey. I’m so shocked and gutted.” – Brookside co-star Suzanne Collins via Liverpool Echo
Ealey also appeared in Hollyoaks spin-off After Hours in 2004 and played Ringo Starr in 2000 biopic In His Life: The John Lennon Story, and was well known for his musical talent in Liverpool forming rock band Tramp Attack in 2001 with future The Zutons frontman Dave McCabe and The Bandits’ Tony Dunn.
“Stunned to hear we have lost
@Smithdownslim. Happiest of memories playing his mum. So young, talented & the sweetest of souls #Brookside xx” – On-screen mum, Brookside co-star, Barbara Drennan (@barbaradrennan)
“Just awful. What a lovely, lovely man! Had many laughs with him at work back in the day… RIP” – Hollyoaks co-star Gemma Atkinson (@MissGAtkinson)
The cause of Ealey’s death has not yet been confirmed.