The Days of Our Lives family lost an iconic member on Thursday

Joseph Mascolo, who played the infamous villain Stefano DiMera on Days, passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease, according to Soap Opera Digest. The actor was 87 years old.

Mascolo first joined the Days cast in 1982 and crafted Stefano into one of the most iconic villains in soap opera history. Even though he left the show for a regular stint on Bold and the Beautiful from 2001 to 2006, the actor still returned to Days for recurring visits. His last appearance on the show was earlier this year for the filming of Stefano's death.

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"It is with great sorrow that I'm sharing the news of the passing of our dear friend and beloved member of the Days of Our Lives family, Joseph Mascolo," Days executive producer Ken Corday said in a statement. "The smile on Joe's face is something we'd all come to find comfort in, and he will be sorely missed. His larger-than-life presence, kind heart and unwavering positivity has impacted us all for decades, and will live on in the memories of his many fans. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time."

Mascolo's wife, Patricia Schultz-Mascolo, also issued a statement, saying, "Joseph was a big 'ol bear with a puppy dog heart. I'm so blessed to have had these many years with him. I will miss him every day."

Mascolo is survived by Schultz-Mascolo, his son Peter, his step-daughter Laura, and his sister, Marie and her husband Ronald LaVoie. He also had five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, one niece, one nephew, 3 great nieces, one great nephew and one great-great niece.