Yes, I heard about that news story, but also have heard of it happening before, too. Very, very sad...
As for the Hugh/John story... I do know that originally it was really supposed to be John who died. However, since Michael Easton and ABC came to an arguement on a new contract, they had to work it differently in order to keep him with OLTL.
So, I didn't think the story was based off out that.
Thanks for your post!
Soaps.com OLTL/Y&R writer