Michael Galeota, star of Disney’s The Jersey, has died at the age of 31. Although his cause of death is unknown, the former child star reportedly experienced abdominal pain in the days prior to his death. According to Michael’s brother, Jimmy, the actor “died peacefully at home.”
A native of Smithtown, New York, Michael James Galeota began acting at the age of 6 — when he appeared in two episodes of The Baby-Sitters Club television series.
— 13News Now (@13NewsNow) January 12, 2016
Between the ages of 7 and 11, Galeota had small roles in the television movie Women & Man 2: In Love There Are No Rules and the television series ER. However, he got his big break in 1996 with the lead role in the comedy series Bailey Kipper’s P.O.V.
Although the series only lasted one season, Michael Galeota was nominated for and won the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Comedy — Leading Young Actor.
Later that same year, Michael and his brother Jimmy were cast as brothers Billy and Kade Ruckman in the adventure/family film Clubhouse Detectives. Although they did not receive any awards, Michael and the other young members of the cast were nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Movie/Home Video — Young Ensemble.
Between 1997 and 2003, Galeota appeared in several television series, including Ally McBeal and The Nightmare Room. He also appeared in several films, including Magic Jersey and Missing Brendan. However, he is most famous for his role in Disney’s The Jersey.
The Jersey was a family series, which continued the story of Nick Lighter — who Michael played in Magic Jersey.
The film and Disney Channel series were based on the Monday Night Football Club books, which were written by Gordon Korman.
In the books, movie, and television series, Nick Lighter and his friends discover a magical football jersey — which transports them into the bodies of famous professional athletes.
IMDB, reports the professional athletes in the Disney Channel program included race car driver Michael Andretti, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, and professional football player Peyton Manning — who all guest starred in the series.
Michael Galeota starred in Disney’s The Jersey from its debut in 1999 until it was canceled in 2004. In 2000, he and his costars won a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Series — Young Ensemble for their appearance in the hit television series.
According to IMDB, Michael’s career as an actor ended with the cancellation of The Jersey.
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
As stated on his Facebook page, the former child actor worked as a national sales consultant for CoreLogic at the time of his death.
Variety reports Galeota suffered from high blood pressure, diverticulitis, and high cholesterol — and his cause of death is thought to be natural.
According to reports, the young man went to the hospital on Wednesday, as he was experiencing abdominal pain. However, he was released later that same day.
On Sunday, his family and friends became concerned — as they had not heard from him in several days. One of Michael’s friend’s eventually climed through a window in the young man’s Glendale, California, home because he did not answer the door or the telephone.
The friend reported Galeota was found unresponsive on his living room floor.
Michael Galeota’s family created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for funeral expenses. His brother, Jimmy, described the former child star as “loving, giving, compassionate, joyful and intelligent.”
“He was a precious gift… A great inspiration for anyone that heard his genuine, humble, witty and joyful voice, or experienced his smile, laughter and love for just a moment… His humble nature hid a great compassionate and loving human being, with a huge heart. He cared profoundly for his family and friends. In our hearts and souls, he will always be with us.”
Galeota’s family has received more than $17,000 of the $25,000 requested for burial expenses.
The star of Disney’s The Jersey died on October 10. He will be buried when his family raises enough funds for “a burial that is worthy of a GIVER.” A medical examiner confirmed Michael Galeota’s autopsy is currently pending.
[Image via Facebook]