General Hospital: Shocking Death of Iconic Character Revealed

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In a startling turn of events, General Hospital has killed off Anthony Geary's iconic character Luke Spencer, who first appeared in Port Charles 44 years ago.

Perhaps it's not surprising given that Geary left the longest-running soap drama still in production in 2015, and Luke has existed almost entirely offscreen since then. However, for GH fans, Luke Spencer's death signifies the end of an era.

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How did Luke Die in General Hospital?

Luke died off-screen on Monday's episode of General Hospital. The Port Charles legend died in a cable car accident in Austria, as Luke's most recent bride, Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliott), confessed to his stunned soul mate Laura (Genie Francis). It was heavily indicated at the end of the hour that Victor Cassadine (Charles Shaughnessy) orchestrated the "accident."

The seasoned actor joined General Hospital in 1978 for a 13-week stint, but the role, like Francis' Laura Webber, drew younger viewers in, and audiences responded warmly to the character. Instead of killing off Spencer, the writers used the popularity of Luke and Laura to their advantage.

The wedding of Luke and Laura in 1981 raked in 30 million people, making it the highest-rated episode in soap opera history and one of the most memorable moments in twentieth-century television.

Geary's Temporary Retirement

Geary quit GH in July 2015 (he returned again in 2017 to help Tracy's exit).

He announced his retirement in May 2015, saying, “I’m just weary of the grind and have been for 20 years. I really don’t want to die, collapsing in a heap, on that GH set one day. That wouldn’t be too poetic.”

Days after receiving his eighth Emmy nod for his role on the ABC drama, Geary reversed course and told EW.com: “If the story is interesting to me and it works out, I may come back to the show for six weeks or so. I really don’t think we have exhausted what [Luke] can do. It depends on the writers and how far they want to look.”

Geary, who now lives in Amsterdam, has been playing Luke on and off since 1978.

"It's been a really exciting ride," Geary said at the time of his and Luke's exit. "In the end, it's been well worth it."