Former Santa Barbara Star Dane Witherspoon Dies at 56
03/31/2014 AT 04:15 PM EDT
Actor A Martinez, who also starred in the hit daytime drama, announced the death in a message posted to his Facebook on Saturday.
"Dane passed this morning. People who watched Santa Barbara in its earliest days will remember him as Joe Perkins, a character to which he brought a quiet grace and deep, bittersweet sense of soul," Martinez writes, according to Soap Opera Digest.
Witherspoon was a part of the original cast, but was fired from the show months after filming began, We Love Soaps reports.
Of his "standup" friend – "loved and admired by many" – Martinez adds, "Dane was a most compelling man, and it must have been very hard on him to drift away from the path he first imagined. We'd do well to hold his kin in our thoughts, and imagine them finding a way to make the most of the lessons of his life."
Wright, who was married to Witherspoon from 1986 until their divorce two years later, is now engaged to Ben Foster.