Credit: Bjoern Kommerell

“I’m at a loss for words and at the same time, I have so much to say.”

As devastating as it is, it always seems like the outgoing year can never quite leave without a few last-minute heartbreaking farewells. That’s what happened to Young & Restless‘ Michelle Stafford and all who loved stylist and creator of countless hair products, Nick Chavez. He’d waged a long battle against pancreatic cancer and though he fought bravely, in the end, it sadly claimed him.

Stafford shared the news on her Instagram account along with a touching tribute to the man she’d called friend since they’d first met when they were both 19 and modeling.

“This beautiful man left us a couple days ago,” she wrote. “He fought the most valiant fight. He was strength personified. He was constantly telling me that he was blessed. Every day I talked to him, ‘God is good Michelle, I’m so blessed,’ he would say. He was. He was blessed.”

But on top of that, professionally, he was at the top of his game, winning a slew of awards, as she pointed out for his styling and hair products. And through it all, his friendship with Stafford never wavered. In fact, in a very real way, he helped to make Phyllis who she is. Jack’s Red wouldn’t have been the same without Chavez.

“He was so supportive of me,” Stafford continued. “Always supportive of anything I did. Anything. Nick created my red hair color. Women would go to him (as I found out) to get the same color as I. He was incredibly generous.”

Stafford is no stranger to the battle against cancer. Her sister, Janine, is a survivor and when the actress shared a post praising the survivors in her life, Chavez was fighting his own battle.

“We have so much history,” she wrote of Chavez. “So much. Ya know, I have lost many friends in the last 2 years. It’s a hard thing. I keep checking myself and telling myself that it is never promised that we know someone forever.”

It didn’t, of course, take long for Stafford’s Young & Restless friends to reach out with their condolences.

“What a beautiful friendship,” Eileen Davidson (Ashley) replied. “God bless.”

And Michael Damian (Danny) echoed the sentiment, writing, “God bless Nick always.”

Days of Our Lives‘ Tamara Braun (ex-Ava), who lost one of her closest friends this past year, was sadly all too familiar with what Stafford was going through. “Oh Michelle,” she wrote. “I’m so sorry. Too much loss this past year. Too much.”

And Stafford’s bestie from her General Hospital days as Nina, Finola Hughes (Anna), reached out, writing, “Oh Michelle, so sorry. True words about friendship.”

We suppose we’ll leave you with those words, as they’re something we should all take to heart, and we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

“We are so lucky to have a real friendship for the time we do,” Stafford wrote in her post, “and we must respect it and be grateful for it. Grateful that these beautiful people have been in our lives and that we have been fortunate to know them in the first place. I am the lucky one for having had Nick in my life. Until we meet again my amazing friend.”

Say goodbye to all the soap actors we lost in 2022 in our photo gallery remembering their lives.