BEN Unwin’s Home and Away co-star Kristy Wright has said she “will forever regret not reaching out more” after the star died at the age of 41.
Wright, also 41, who played Chloe Richards on the long-running Aussie soap, paid a moving tribute to Unwin on her Instagram account.
She wrote: “In 1992 I met you for the first time and immediately fell into a crazy schoolgirl crush.
“We were kids with the same dream and pretty quickly we became friends. My crush disappeared but my love for you was just beginning.
“Years later we both found ourselves working on that little show @homeandaway and our friendship grew deeper.
“You harassed the writers to create a love story between our characters and when it finally happened we laughed our way through it and were just so happy to have the chance to work so closely with each other.”
“We haven’t spoken in a few years and I can not express in this moment how sorry I am for that.
'I'M SO SORRY. I LOVE YOU'
“I miss you now that I know I will never see you again.
“I will forever regret not reaching out more … I’m so sorry. I love you. RIP my old friend.”
Other cast members have also paid tribute to the star.
Lynne McGranger, who plays Irene Roberts, and Ada Nicodemou, cast as Leah Patterson-Baker, were both “deeply saddened” by Unwin’s death and “their thoughts are with Ben’s family”, a spokeswoman for the actresses said.
Kimberley Cooper, who played Gypsy Smith on Home and Away alongside Unwin, told news.com.au she was “just so sad” to learn of his death.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
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- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
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.”
Officers from New South Wales Police found his body at his home in Minyon Falls, about three hours' drive south of Brisbane, on August 14 – the day before his 42nd birthday.
Cops are not treating his death as suspicious.
In a statement, NSW Police said: "Police attended Minyon Falls, Whian Whian, responding to a concern for welfare.
TRIBUTES POUR IN
"The body of a 41-year-old man was located. The death has not been treated as suspicious."
Ben had left acting and pursued a career as a lawyer completing a law degree and working as a senior solicitor in Newcastle, NSW.
However, before his career in law, he also worked in the music industry directing videos for Culture Club including single I Just Wanna Be Loved and Chumbawamba's smash hit Tubthumping.
A spokesperson for Channel Seven and Home and Away said the show was “saddened” by his death.
They said: "Cast and crew from Home and Away are saddened to learn of the passing of former castmate, 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."
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