GH's Finn, Chase, Alexis, Gregory and Brook Lynn mashup
Credit: ABC screenshot (5)

Port Charles is no stranger to tragedy. It’s violent, dangerous and somehow seems to be the epicenter of world-ending threats. But now, it looks like General Hospital is going to be dealing with heartbreak of an entirely different, crushingly true-to-life nature. On Tuesday, April 18, Gregory finally opened up to Alexis about what’s wrong with him and broke the news that he has ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

And that shook Alexis to the core.

Nancy Lee Grahn joked a little while back about the unfortunate tendency for Alexis’ romantic entanglements winding up six feet under. Now it looks like that touch of death could extend out to friends and potential romantic prospects as well!

Gregory and Alexis make peace GH

With that said, it’s one thing to be flippant about the short life-expectancy of Alexis’ loves, but Gregory is in a different category — not just as a friend, but with his diagnosis. ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder that attacks the body’s motor neurons and muscles. Watching a loved one battle ALS is heartbreaking. There’s no cure, no treatment — only management of symptoms. And it is fatal. Steven Hawking had a slow-progressing form of it and lived for decades after his diagnosis, but his is, sadly, a rare case.

Whether General Hospital has Gregory progress through the disease onscreen or, like Britt, go out in a blaze of glory is up in the air, but what we do know is that this isn’t some fuzzy “soap opera disease” for which they can find a miracle cure. Gregory will not survive this and, as he made clear to Alexis, before it takes his life, he’ll have to rely on his sons to care for him.

But the show may not give Gregory the same “out” that Britt got. After all, it won’t be the first time the show’s tackled a heartbreaking real-life disease. It wasn’t that long ago that General Hospital told the Emmy winning story of Sonny’s dad, Mike, passing away from Alzheimer’s. If the show goes there with Finn and Chase, we could be in for quite a few tearful, heartbreaking moments.

Finn Gregory talk GH

But while Gregory’s diagnosis is sure to upend both his sons’ lives, it doesn’t necessarily have to be all bad. Take Brook Lynn, for instance, She’s already scored a few points with Chase for her role in getting his badge back. But he’s still wary of trusting her. Dealing with a blow like this, though, could mean that Chase is going to need a shoulder to lean on and cry on. A shoulder like Brook Lynn’s. Even in our darkest moments can we find light.

And as for Alexis? Saying a slow farewell to someone you care about is gut wrenching. But unlike too many people in her life who have been killed and taken away, she actually will have a chance to say goodbye. There might be some catharsis in that for her.

And though difficult at times to watch, there might, too, be some catharsis for viewers. About the only thing we do know is that we’re going to need lots of tissues. This won’t be easy for anyone to watch.

Look through our photo gallery of the 10 times soap operas dealt with heartbreaking real-life issues and actually made a difference