At only 31 years of age, former Disney star Michael Galeota has died. Hollywood Life reports that Galeota’s body was found January 11 at his home in Glendale, California, when “concerned friends” dropped by to see how the Disney actor was doing. According to People magazine, Galeota had been hospitalized recently, and his friends were worried that he might have been sicker than they’d thought.
Report: Disney star dies after he leaves hospital against doc’s orders https://t.co/TcHu0iJA24
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) January 11, 2016
Galeota had gone to the hospital the previous week with abdominal pains. Though the doctor advised Michael to remain in the hospital for further observation, Galeota left the hospital’s care on Wednesday, January 6, to return home on his own, where he died only a few days later. When several friends were “unable to reach” Michael and no one had heard from him, the group “became worried.” One of the friends is reported to have volunteered to go to the actor’s Glendale home to “check on him,” and there made the sad discovery of Galeota’s body.
— Zap2it (@Zap2it) January 11, 2016
Us Weekly reports that according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, Galeota had ongoing health problems for some time before he died. The Disney star had more than abdominal pains bothering him: he also “suffered from hypertension and high cholesterol.” Zap2It reports that Michael had been diagnosed with diverticulitis, a painful condition that, among other things, “causes inflammation of the digestive track.”
— Zap2it (@Zap2it) January 11, 2016
Because of all Michael’s known health issues, the coroner saw no reason to suspect foul play and declared the death to be from natural causes. There will be an autopsy scheduled to confirm the coroner’s findings and discover exactly how Galeota died.
The actor was most well known for his role in Disney’s 1999-2004 television series The Jersey. The series followed a group of four teenage friends, including Galeota’s character, Nick Lighter. The friends find a magic jersey “that transports them into the bodies of pro athletes to live out their sports fantasies.” Fans of the show are taking to social media to express their condolences, and leave “rest in peace” messages.
Rest In Peace to 31 year old former Disney child actor Michael Galeota of the Disney series The Jersey. pic.twitter.com/OPJzQHDzuY
— Steve & Steven (UNE) (@UrbanNoize) January 12, 2016
One fan tweeted that The Jersey was one of his favorite shows as a kid.
— Matt Bussy (@WehttamYssub) January 11, 2016
Another Twitter user said that he loved watching Michael on The Jersey, and was sad to hear of his death.
Sad to hear that ex Disney Channel star Michael Galeota has died, loved watching him on The Jersey, RIP Michael
— Isaac Rodriguez (@isaacfromCT) January 11, 2016
Galeota also landed the leading role in a short-lived television series that only lasted for one season from 1996-1997. In Kipper’s P.O.V. Galeota played the character Bailey, an 11-year-old electronics genius who uses his electrical know-how to spy on his family and create a journal of their daily lives. Michael had a presence on the big screen, with occasional appearances in children’s feature films. He acted in Daniel Stern’s 1995 children’s comedy Bushwhacked, which featured a sleazy conman pretending to be a scout leader to Galeota’s scout troupe. Galeota’s film career also included Clubhouse Detectives, a 1996 film about a group of children solving a mysterious murder case.
Many fans remember Michael’s appearances in the 1997 Ally McBeal pilot, and may have hoped that his character would reappear in later episodes. That wasn’t to be, but Galeota did appear in an ER episode in a small role.
Some fans shared that they had wondered what happened to Michael since his early success with the Disney show.
— Larry Banks (@lebanks85) January 12, 2016
News outlet, KFOR, reported that friends have set up a GoFundMe to help provide for Michael’s burial. On the page, Galeota is described as “a precious gift – loving, giving, compassionate, joyful and intelligent.”
Fellow actors are offering their sympathies. “Too young, too soon,” tweeted actress and singer Christy Romano, in a tweet where she offered her condolences to Michael’s family.
— ChristyCarlsonRomano (@ChristyRomano) January 12, 2016
RIP Michael Galeota.
[Photo by Pres Panayotov/Shutterstock]