Home and Away actor Ben Unwin has died, aged 41

20 August 2019, 11:52 | Updated: 20 August 2019, 11:56

Ben Unwin
Ben Unwin. Picture: Seven Network

By Tom Eames

Ben Unwin - who played Jesse in Australian soap Home and Away - has passed away at the age of 41.

His death was confirmed by New South Wales police in an official statement, after his body was discovered last week on August 14.

"Police attended Minyon Falls, Whian Whian, responding to a concern for welfare," the police said. "The body of a 41-year-old man was located. The death has not been treated as suspicious."

The cause of Unwin's death is not currently known.

Ben Unwin with fellow soap star Kate Ritchie in 2003
Ben Unwin with fellow soap star Kate Ritchie in 2003. Picture: Getty

Ben Unwin played Jesse McGregor on Home And Away from 1996 to 2000, and then later returned to the soap from 2002 to 2005.

His character was known for his various issues, such as being accused of burning down the bait shop and getting involved in illegal dealings with Mick Dwyer (John Brumpton).

He was nominated for a British National Television Award in 1997 for Most Popular Newcomer, and also for Most Popular New Talent at the 1997 Logie Awards.

After leaving the show, Unwin completed a law degree, before working as a senior solicitor.

Kimberley Cooper, who starred as Gypsy Smith on Home And Away, paid tribute to the actor by posting a cover of TV Week, in which she shared with the late star.

"My first tv week cover was with you," Kimberley wrote. "We had years of laughter, be it giggles on set trying to get through scenes as lovers or doubled over belly laughs at the pubs after work.

"I will be sad for now, but I promise to tell stories of great joy about our times together. You forever hold a special place in my heart. Love you Onion."

Ada Nicodemou— who played Jesse's ex Leah on the soap— called the news "tragic". She wrote on Instagram: "I just woke up to the tragic news of Ben's passing, my heart goes out to his family."

In a statement, the Seven Network said it was "saddened" to learn of Ben's passing. A spokesperson said: "Cast and crew from Home and Away are saddened to learn of the passing of former castmate, Ben Unwin.

"Ben's work in the role of Jesse McGregor is remembered with much affection. Ben’s family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers."