A false rumor spread online that Debby Ryan, Cameron Boyce’s co-star on Jessie, suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized after learning about Boyce’s tragic death at age 20.
However, it’s not true. Debby Ryan was not hospitalized. She did not have a heart attack. The false rumor appears to have stemmed from a YouTube video by @Dancetayley that was called “Debby Ryan Rushed to Hospital After Finding Out About Cameron Boyce.” That video’s false information then ricocheted around Twitter and other social media platforms, perhaps fueled by Debby’s silence for longer than other co-stars in the wake of Cameron’s death. She has now posted this tribute to Cameron Boyce:
However, in the first days after Cameron died, Debby Ryan had not released a written statement like other co-stars. She had taken several subtle actions on Instagram and Twitter that make it clear she’s not in the hospital suffering from a heart attack. Snopes, the fact-check site, labeled the Debby Ryan had a heart attack/was hospitalized claims as “unfounded rumors.” No credible news site has reported them. It appears to be a phenomenon in which one false report spurs many others, and then people see so many “reports” about it that some people think it’s true.
That didn’t stop people from spreading the false rumors. Some examples of what people wrote on Twitter include “wait is it true debby ryan had a heart attack??????” and “I want everyone to pray for Debby Ryan she had an heart attack hours after hearing about Cameron passing?? #debbyryan #Pray.” Others demanded that people stop sharing false information, with one woman writing: “stop spreading the rumor that debby ryan had a heart attack. people are already grieving through cameron’s death, stop trying to cause more hurt for others.”
This has happened to Debby Ryan before. When the far older screen actress Debbie Reynolds died in 2016, people confused her on social media with Debby Ryan.
Here’s what you need to know:
Despite Not Releasing a Statement, Debby Has Taken Other Actions on Social Media After Cameron Died
Debby Ryan did responded to Cameron Boyce’s Death: Through a video. She also shut off the Instagram comments on her four most recent Instagram posts after Boyce died, probably because people were filling up the comment threads with remarks about Boyce. On Jessie, in what is probably Cameron’s best known role, Cameron played Luke Ross alongside Debby Ryan. Thus, a lot of fans were curious what she would say in reaction to Cameron’s death, but she’s only given cryptic signs of her feelings.
On July 8, Debby updated her Instagram story to include an inspirational video clip of Cameron Boyce giving a speech in which he said the following:
It’s crazy. We can tweet whatever we want and we can use social media and Instagram and make the world a better place instead of a worse one, which so many people use it for. But we need to use our resources and what we have. We’re all in here wearing suits. We need to use what we have to make the world a better place for other people, other people, people who need us!
This is the video that Debby shared of Cameron Boyce:
Debby also changed her Instagram profile pic after Cameron’s death from one of herself to one showing what appears to be clouds in the sky. You can read more about that here. Debby’s latest post was from the Fourth of July before news of Cameron’s death broke:
On Twitter, Debby last retweeted a July 5 post on the California earthquake.
In contrast, Peyton List, who played Cameron Boyce’s older sister in the Disney Channel series Jessie, has posted a touching tribute to Boyce on her Instagram page, in which she declared her love for Boyce.
“Cameron,” Peyton wrote. “The boy whose contagious laugh I can still hear. The boy who left everyone feeling hopeful and full of love. He was younger than me but taught me how to spread love and kindness more than anyone that has ever been in my life. He lifted everyone around him, and inspired/pushed me to be a better person than I ever would’ve been without his guidance, patience, and love. I can barely see my eyes anymore from crying so hard. Cameron I love you with every ounce of me, and I thank you for the time I had with you, being in my life, and being my brother forever and always. There is a hole in my heart that will never heal left for you. I will never stop talking about you. My kids will hear about you.”
“It is with a profoundly heavy heart that we report that this morning we lost Cameron,” a spokesperson said for Boyce’s family to ABC News. “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 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.” TMZ is now reporting that Boyce suffered from epilepsy and that his roommate found him unresponsive.
Debby did take one other Cameron-related action. She liked a tweet by Charles Esten (Boyce’s dad on Jessie) about Cameron that read the following:
My family and I are devastated today, by the loss of our young and amazing friend, Cameron Boyce. Years before I was blessed to play his father on JESSIE, we were blessed to know him and his wonderful family at the elementary school our kids all attended together. It was there we were introduced to his endless talent, kindness, and joy for living. At his very 1st talent show, little Cameron’s dancing lit up the stage, and left everyone on their feet, cheering . It was clear to all that he was destined to be the star he would soon become. And yet, Cameron never carried himself with anything but kindness, humility, effortless grace, and great humor. Even as his star ascended with JESSIE, and he began to receive the type of fame that can change people, I never saw that change. Not even a little. It was a joy to work with him on JESSIE, as it was with all the wonderful young stars of that beloved show. They were as close as actual brothers and sisters to one another, and still are, and my heart breaks for them today..
READ NEXT: Cameron Boyce’s Family.