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Degrassi star Wheels, a.k.a. actor Neil Hope, dead at 35

Rebecca Tucker Feb 16, 2012 – 12:01 PM ET | Last Updated: Feb 16, 2012 1:06 PM ET

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Degrassi actor Neil Hope died in 2007
News broke on Thursday that actor Neil Hope, who achieved fame on the iconic Canadian after-school program Degrassi Junior High , Degrassi High and Degrassi: The Next Generation is dead — and has been for five years.
While several news outlets are reporting that news of Hope’s death was made official on Thursday (Feb. 16), a Facebook group features a confirmation of the actor’s death from Hope’s sister-in-law, Tracy Northrup Hope , dated Jan. 12, 2012. At that time, Tracy reported his date of death as Nov. 25, 2007 , and indicated he died of natural causes.
Hope reportedly died in Hamilton at age 35.
Hope was born Sept. 24, 1972, in Toronto. His parents were alcoholics — his Degrassi character also struggled with alcoholism — and Hope was candid about his struggle with his parents’ addictions growing up, encouraging teens to speak up and seek help in a 1992 series called Degrassi Talked, which featured the show’s actors discussing issues such as safe sex and addiction. Hope himself struggled with alcohol addiction after the filming of the documentary The Dark Side , which focused on the death of his father.
Further details will be added as they become available.
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Alex O'Zebedee

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No one deserves the punishment of living in Hamilton. Death is a welcome event for anyone stuck in that city.