TorStar (one of 119 stories according to Google News):
For millions, Neil Hope was “Wheels” — the lovable, troubled onscreen teen with that feathered blond hair and huge glasses.
To the public, the Toronto actor’s role as Derek Wheeler on the hit Degrassi TV series thrust him into the realm of celebrity, but in real life he died anonymously.
Police have confirmed to the Star that Hope was found dead on Nov. 25, 2007 in a Hamilton rooming house. That shocking revelation was made known to friends and family only this January — and became public Thursday.
He was 35. (…)
“You can’t underestimate the phenomenon and how people believed in Wheels,” said former Star journalist Catherine Dunphy, who wrote two Degrassi books and conducted a Degrassi Talks interview with Hope.
“This awkward, shy, grinning, bespectacled kid was very endearing.”