Actor Michael Galeota has died at the age of 31. Galeota’s last and biggest role was as Nick Lighter on The Jersey TV series. Featuring a magical sports jersey that transforms the wearer into a pro athlete, The Jersey ran on Disney Channel from 1990 to 2004. The show was a sequel to the 1998 Disney Channel TV movie, Magic Jersey, in which Galeota played the same character.
In 1996, Galeota played the title character on the Bailey Kipper’s POV TV series. The show aired Saturday mornings, until it was cancelled by CBS after 13 episodes. Galeota’s other TV roles include parts on ER, Ally McBeal, and The Nightmare Room.
The GoFundMe page, started to raise money for the actor’s funeral, reads:
It is with tremendous heartfelt sadness to announce the passing of Michael James Galeota on January 10th. He died peacefully at home.
He was a precious gift – loving, giving, compassionate, joyful and intelligent. A great inspiration for anyone that heard his genuine, humble, witty and joyful voice, or experienced his smile, laughter and love for just a moment. To know him was to love him.
His humble nature hid a great compassionate and loving human being, with a huge heart. He cared profoundly for his family and friends. Mike was a great giver, always ready and able to care for others.
Although his life was short, we are grateful and appreciate the experience of having been loved, and loved him in return, and for being in our lives. In our hearts and souls, he will always be with us.
Please help us to provide a burial that is worthy of a GIVER.
The page also includes a family photo featuring Galeota as a young boy, on what is most likely the day of his First Holy Communion.
The Go Fund Me page for Galeota has currently raised nearly $9,000 of its $25,000 goal. Interestingly, the biggest donation of $5,000 comes from a donor calling his or herself “Shia L.” While there’s no confirmation of the identity of that donor, actor Shia Labeouf starred on the Disney Channel’s “Even Stevens” at the same time Galeota was on “The Jersey.”
TMZ broke the story with this news:
Michael Galeota, star of “The Jersey” on the Disney Channel, has died … TMZ has learned.
We’re told the actor went to the hospital last week after complaining of abdominal pains and left last Wednesday … against the doctors’ advice.
Michael went radio silent over the weekend, and one of his friends went to his Glendale home Sunday to check on him. Michael didn’t answer, so the friend climbed through a window and found his body lying in the living room.
We’re told Michael had a history of hypertension and high cholesterol. He also battled diverticulitis — inflammation of the digestive tract.
People has reviewed the medical examiner’s records:
The actor’s body was discovered in his home Sunday, according to Los Angeles Medical Examiner records obtained by PEOPLE. The coroner has declared his death of natural causes and an autopsy is scheduled to take place in the near future.
We invite you to share your memories of Galeota, below.