Soap opera legend Susan Lucci is mourning the death of her husband of 52 years, Helmut Huber, who died at the couple’s New York home at the age of 84 on March 28.

“Helmut’s passing is a tremendous loss for all who knew and loved him. He was an extraordinary husband, father, grandfather, and friend. The family kindly asks for privacy during this incredibly difficult time,” a rep for Susan, 75, tells Closer.

The couple met during the summer of 1965 while working together at Long Island, New York’s Garden City Hotel. She was an 18-year-old waitress who had just finished her freshman year of college and Helmut worked as a chef.

The Austrian native was impressed by his future wife the second he laid eyes on her. “The first time I saw Susie, it hit me,” he revealed to People in a June 1999 interview. “Still today, she walks in a room, and I just light up.” Susan shared, “I thought at the time he was an attractive older man,” of Helmut, who was nine years her senior.  But Susan was with another man whom she later planned to marry.

Helmut made quite a splash with Susan’s family in 1968 during her engagement party at the same hotel. He was working in the hotel business and happened to be visiting friends at the establishment when Susan’s parents invited him to join in the festivities for their daughter and her fiancé. “Helmut leaned over to my mother and said, ‘This thing between Susie and this boy is never going to last.’ I heard about that much later. And my mother agreed with him, but she didn’t tell me that,” she revealed to the publication.

Susan Lucci Mourns Death of Husband Helmut Huber
Kristina Bumphrey/Starpix/Shutterstock

Within a few months, Susan broke up with her fiancé and began dating Helmut. The pair wed on September 13, 1969, a year before she made her debut as Erica Kane on ABC’s All My Children. Helmut was supportively and lovingly by his wife’s side as Susan went on to portray the character for a whopping 41 years, until the show ended in 2011. He was also there to console Susan during her record 20 Daytime Emmy Award losses and there to celebrate when she finally won in 1999 after 18 years of defeat.

The couple welcomed their first child, daughter, Liza Huber, in 1975, followed by a son Andreas Huber in 1977. Liza went on to follow in her mom’s daytime acting footsteps, starring in the NBC soap opera Passions, though she retired from acting in 2008 to spend more time as a mom to her now four children.

Susan shared how Helmut literally saved her life shortly after their wedding in an exclusive 2015 interview with Closer. “Very early on [in our marriage], we were skiing in Tignes Le Lac in France, and I fell off the lift. We were only midway up the mountain, and I slipped and was sliding, and it was above the trees, so there was nothing to grab onto.”

Fortunately, Helmut was an experienced skier. “He schussed down below me and managed to stop my fall. It was a good sign that he saved me. Otherwise, I would have fallen thousands of feet off a cliff!” Susan explained, gushing, “I got a good one!” After more than 50 years of wedded bliss, she sure did!