01/31/2012 AT 4:00 PM ET
A struggling soap opera actor committed suicide in New York City last week, hours after putting his beloved dog to sleep, which he said was in response to pressure from the management of his apartment building.
Nick Santino told friends he felt he had “betrayed my best friend,” a 5-year-old pit bull named Rocco, after euthanizing the dog last Tuesday, Santino’s 47th birthday, according to the New York Post.
Santino, who made appearances in All My Children, Guiding Light, and more recently on Gossip Girl, reportedly made a distraught phone call to a former girlfriend around 2 a.m. Wednesday and was found dead in his apartment later that afternoon by police, reports the Post.
“Rocco trusted me and I failed him,” Santino wrote in a suicide note, a friend told the Post. “He didn’t deserve this.”
The management of his apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side had reportedly instituted several rules about dogs, including a ban on pit bulls in 2010, but said it did not apply to any that already lived in the building.
A member of the building’s condo board told the Post that Santino’s death had “nothing to do with the pet policy,” but neighbors told the paper that the building management and some residents had “harassed” Santino about Rocco.
According to Santino’s sister, Santino and Rocco will be buried together.