Former American soap star Dane Witherspoon has died at the age of 56.

The ex-husband of actress Robin Wright passed away on Saturday (29Mar14).

Actor A Martinez, who co-starred with Witherspoon and Wright on 1980s soap Santa Barbara, broke the news to fans via his page on Saturday, writing, "Dane passed this morning. People who watched Santa Barbara in its earliest days will remember him as Joe Perkins, a character to which he brought a quiet grace and deep, bittersweet sense of soul.

"He was a singular, standup guy, loved and admired by many. My first thought, upon meeting him in 1984: 'This is the most beautiful man I've ever seen'. That beauty went all the way to his core."

Witherspoon was one of the original Santa Barbara castmembers, but he was fired shortly after the show's launch in 1984. He went on to appear in another soap opera, Capitol, and appeared on The Waltons, Eight is Enough, and in Tv movies like Chameleons and Asteroid.

He wed Wright in 1986 after they fell in love during auditions for Santa Barbara, but marriage only lasted two years before they split.

Witherspoon went on to wed Tracy K. Shaffer, the mother of his two sons.