Home and Away star Ben Unwin, who portrayed popular character Jesse McGregor from 1996 to 2000, and later from 2002 to 2005, has been found dead at the age of 41.
The sad news was confirmed by NSW police in a statement, revealing that the actor's body had was discovered on 14 August.
"Police attended Minyon Falls, Whian Whian, responding to a concern for welfare," the statement read. "The body of a 41-year-old man was located. The death has not been treated as suspicious."
Former co-stars of Ben, who left the popular TV show to study law and become a solicitor, have paid tribute to the star. Home and Away actress Ada Nicodemou told Yahoo Lifestyle: "I just woke up to the tragic news of Ben's passing, my heart goes out to his family". Ada, who joined the soap in 2000, is one of the show's longest-serving actors and her character Leah Patterson-Baker had a brief romance with Ben's character Jesse on the popular TV soap.
Jesse's co-stars during his time on Home and Away also include Isla Fisher, Tempany Decker, who was one of his love interests on the show, and Roslyn Oades.
For his portrayal of Jesse, Ben was nominated for Most Popular New Talent at the 1997 Logie Awards. He also earned a nomination for Most Popular Newcomer at the 3rd National Television Awards. In 1999, the star received nominations for Best Actor and Sexiest Male from the Inside Soap Awards.
A spokesperson for Channel 7, the Australian network that has broadcast the show since 1988, reacted to the sad news, saying: "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."