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LOS ANGELES— Joseph Mascolo, who played bad guy Stefano DiMera on NBC’s daytime soap opera,”Days of Our Lives,” has died. He was 87.

A statement released Friday by NBC on behalf of Mascolo’s wife said he died Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Days of Our Lives” posted on social media, “Our hearts are with his family during this difficult time.”

Days’ actress Alison Sweeney said, “I always had a sense of awe to work with Joe. He will be greatly missed.”

Although best known for his soap opera role, Mascolo was a classically trained musician and appeared on Broadway in plays including “Dinner at Eight” and “That Championship Season.”

His wide-ranging TV credits included the prime-time series “Kojak,” ”Hill Street Blues” and “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.” Besides starring on “Days of Our Lives,” Mascolo also appeared in the daytime serials “The Bold and the Beautiful,” ”General Hospital” and “Santa Barbara.”