Cameron Boyce, the 20-year-old Disney Channel star, has died, according to ABC News. Heartbroken and shocked fans and co-stars have taken to social media to mourn the passing of the vibrant, beloved actor of such Disney shows as Jessie and Descendants.
The actor Adam Sandler, who starred with Boyce in the 2010 movie Grown Ups, spoke for many when he wrote: “Too young. Too sweet. Too funny.”
“Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent kid around. Loved that kid. Cared so much about his family. Cared so much about the world. Thank you, Cameron, for all you gave to us. So much more was on the way. All our hearts are broken. Thinking of your amazing family and sending our deepest condolences.”
The tragic news broke in the early morning hours of July 7, 2019. According to the Blast, Boyce’s death has left fans in shock because people didn’t know he was facing an illness. Fans quickly filled social media and Boyce’s Instagram page with tributes despite the early morning hour as the news spread. Many mentioned his potential or how they grew up watching him. “…cameron boyce, the boy I grew up laughing at on grown ups and disney channel, is now gone. it’s still so difficult for me to register this whole thing,” wrote one distraught fan on Twitter.
Another fan explained: “I don’t think adults would understand this as much as we do, we practically grew up with him, we watched him everyday on our TVs…we watched him grow up. and to see him die, that’s a different level of sadness.”
In March 2019, Boyce had given an interview with the site, Dazed, in which he discussed how he wanted his roles to be seen. “It’s important to show (characters) from every walk of life so people can say, ‘I can do that too,’ and feel like their existence is acknowledged,” he said in that interview, seemingly with everything to live for.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cameron Boyce’s Family Told ABC News They Were ‘Utterly Heartbroken’ Over His Death
Boyce’s dad has posted a heartbreaking message on Instagram about his son. He wrote:
“My son. Just hours before he was snatched from our lives. I miss him terribly. I hope that no one ever has to feel the agony I’m feeling but no one is immune to tragedy. The outpouring of love and support our family continues to receive is so beautiful and appreciated. Thank you all for helping us through our worst possible situation. ??❤️”
“We are utterly heartbroken and ask for privacy during this immensely difficult time as we grieve the loss of our precious son and brother,” a family spokesperson said Saturday.
Boyce’s death comes at a time when his career was taking off and he was branching out into an indie role in a thriller called Runt, in which he played “a neglected teen pulled into a cycle of violence,” according to Dazed.
“This was the first time that someone had reached out to me and instantly believed in me, without any proof that I could handle the weight of the role. I’ve done a lot of work but it’s been a lot of Disney stuff, and a lot of children’s stuff, so the fact that someone was like ‘no I totally believe that you can do this,’ was empowering,” he told the publication, seemingly looking to the future.
Boyce’s Jessie co-star Skai Jackson wrote a heartbreaking tribute to Boyce on Instagram: “I don’t even know where to start… I am at a loss for words,” she wrote. “I never thought in a million years I would be writing this. Cam, you were one of a kind. My heart will be forever broken. I am so happy that I got to spend almost everyday with you on set, you gave the best hugs. I wish I would have hugged you tighter when I saw you a couple of months ago. Thank you so much for being the big brother I never had… I am so distraught and I cannot stop crying! I love you so much… fly high ?? ?? Gods best angle (sic).”
Cameron Boyce was from a family of Caribbean, African, and Jewish heritage. Boyce discussed his ethnicity to Raw.
“Oh man. Your guess is as good as mine,” he said. “I’m a lot of different European. I know my grandfather is from the Caribbean. And my grandmother is… You know, I’m sure they both have lineage in Africa because I’m black. I like to say that I’m bl-ewish, I’m black and I’m Jewish. So you know, me and Drake, we got that in common.” His mother worked as a health worker on skid row, and his grandmother was involved in the civil rights movement. As a result, Boyce himself gave back to society, becoming involved in charity work.
“A humanitarian, Boyce is actively involved in various philanthropic endeavors and has been particularly outspoken for Thirst Project, a non-profit organization that provides awareness for the global water crisis. Last year, Boyce launched a campaign on his birthday that raised more than $27,000 to build two wells in Swaziland and continues to actively advocate on their behalf,” his Disney bio reads.
2. Boyce Died From a Seizure & It Is Reported That He Had Suffered From Epilepsy
Whenever someone dies so young, people want to know how it happened. In this case, according to The Blast, Cameron Boyce died of a seizure from what was described as an ongoing illness.
The illness was not disclosed, but TMZ reported on July 8 that Boyce suffered from epilepsy. TMZ wrote, “Law enforcement sources say they have characterized it as a ‘natural death.’ As bizarre as it sounds — a 20-year-old dying of a seizure — the term ‘natural’ refers to conditions in the body which result in death.”
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, “Epilepsy is a neurological condition which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures (or after one seizure with a high risk for more) that were not caused by some known medical condition.” More than 3.4 million people around the U.S. have epilepsy, according to the foundation.
“Seizures seen in epilepsy are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown,” the Epilepsy Foundation writes.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, about 1 in 1,000 people suffer from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, “SUDEP is the sudden, unexpected death of someone with epilepsy, who was otherwise healthy. In SUDEP cases, no other cause of death is found when an autopsy is done. Each year, about 1 in 1,000 people epilepsy die from SUDEP. This is the leading cause of death in people with uncontrolled seizures.”
The foundation continues, “The person with epilepsy is often found dead in bed and doesn’t appear to have had a convulsive seizure. Over one-third of the time, there is a witnessed seizure or signs of a recent seizure close to the time of death. They are often found lying face down. No one is sure about the cause of death in SUDEP and it may differ between cases. Some researchers think that a seizure causes an irregular heart rhythm. Other research has shown that breathing difficulties following a seizure lead to death.”
Boyce’s family said in a statement, “The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him.”
In a statement to ABC News, the Disney Channel also mourned Cameron Boyce, saying, “From a young age, Cameron Boyce dreamed of sharing his extraordinary artistic talents with the world. As a young man, he was fueled by a strong desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives through his humanitarian work. He was an incredibly talented performer, a remarkably caring and thoughtful person and, above all else, he was a loving and dedicated son, brother, grandson and friend.”
“We offer our deepest condolences to his family, cast mates and colleagues and join his many millions of fans in grieving his untimely passing. He will be dearly missed.”
Descendants director Kenny Ortega offered a tribute.
“Cameron, You left a big piece of your heart for those of us who knew and loved you in this life and you left with a big piece of our hearts today. We will continue to carry your loving spirit forward. You are our forever boy,” Ortega wrote on Instagram. “In your short time on this earth you lit it up with your incomparable talent and goodness. I will be forever grateful to have known and worked with you. Thank you for sharing your amazing gifts with us all. God Bless you and may God watch over your Incredible and loving Family during this difficult time. Only Love.”
3. Boyce, Who Died in His Sleep, Recently Said He’d Grown More Spiritual
The Blast reported that, according to Boyce’s family, he “passed away in his sleep due to a seizure which was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated.”
The family statement to The Blast continued: “It is with a profoundly heavy heart that we report that this morning we lost Cameron.”
In the Dazed interview, Boyce discussed the concept of karma. “I wouldn’t necessarily say a practice, but recently I’ve gotten way more spiritual than I ever have been,” he said. “I’ve never been particularly religious but I have recently acknowledged the universe and it’s crazy powers, and that will probably fluctuate for the rest of my life. But I believe in a lot of things that you hear, I believe in karma, I believe that things happen for a reason. I believe that if you put an energy out into the universe, you’ll receive it back.”
Boyce’s charitable instincts may have derived in part by the example set by his grandmother, Jo Ann Boyce, who was involved in the civil rights movement. Boyce’s Disney Channel bio mentions Jo Ann Boyce.
“In 2017, Boyce received a Daytime Emmy Award with Disney XD for ‘Outstanding Promotional Announcement’ in conjunction with his participation in their series ‘Timeless Heroes—Be Inspired,’ honoring Black History Month,” the bio reads. “He appeared alongside his grandmother Jo Ann Boyce, who was one of the famed Clinton 12, one of 12 black teens who were first to integrate into public school in Clinton, Tennessee.”
Jo Ann is the mother of Boyce’s dad, who told the website LABC of her: “My mom never made a big deal about her involvement with the Clinton 12, but she was always a huge advocate for education and also inclusion. It’s interesting to me that despite the hatred she endured from white Southerners in the ’50s, I’ve never heard my mom speak badly of white people. In fact, she taught us to be respectful of all people. She leads by example, and I think I’m a better person for it.” Boyce’s mother also showed her son the virtues of public service; she is a social worker who does homeless outreach work in Los Angeles.
“When your Nana is a civil rights legend, you tag along to important events where she’s recognized, and take 8,000 pictures of her,” Cameron once wrote on Instagram of his grandmother. “Yesterday the Tennessee State Museum opened its doors. In the ‘Tennessee Transforms’ section, they recognize the Clinton 12, the FIRST group of African Americans to desegregate an all white school in the south. She changed the WORLD. I love her and you should too. ❤️❤️❤️❤️”
4. In Addition to His Disney Work, Cameron Boyce Was a Voice Actor & Starred in Movies With Major Stars
Boyce could be heard voicing the character of Jake on the Disney Junior animated show, “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” According to ABC News, Cameron Boyce was from Los Angeles, California.
The network says he made his showbiz debut at the tender age of 9 in a horror movie called Mirrors. He also acted with Adam Sandler in the movie Grown Ups before moving on to Disney Channel fame.
On the Disney show Jessie, he played Luke Ross.
According to his Disney Channel biography, Cameron Boyce was “Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and dubbed an old soul by many who have encountered him, it’s no surprise that Cameron Boyce possesses an all-encompassing appreciation for the arts. His love of performing began in a dance studio, which then transitioned him into commercials, and not long after television and film.”
“Boyce has graced screens both big and small,” the bio reads, “starring alongside the likes of Kiefer Sutherland in ‘Mirrors,’ Shia LaBeouf in ‘Eagle Eye,’ and Adam Sandler in ‘Grown Ups’ and ‘Grown Ups 2.’ Other credits include CBS’ ‘Code Black,’ Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie,’ as well as Disney XD’s ‘Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything,’ which saw the best series debut in Disney XD’s 15-year history.”
5. Boyce Posted a Photo on Instagram Just a Day Ago
A day ago, Cameron Boyce posted his last photo on Instagram, which you can see above. Fans are already filling up his Instagram account with comments about his death. Boyce had 8.3 million followers on his Instagram page, which you can see here.
“i cannot believe this :(” wrote one. “Damn R.I.P…this is crazy,” wrote another. Another wrote simply: “R.I.P. Cameron.”
Twitter also filled up with tributes. “rip cameron boyce :( send love. you never know what could happen. tell those you love that you appreciate them. I pray for those close to him,” wrote one woman. “i met you twice and both times you were such a honest modest person with the most ambition to help others with your platform. and you did,” wrote a man. “One of the very few honest people in show business everyone. and he left a legacy behind. one love to your family ❤️ god has other plans for you. rest in peace.”
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