Viewers saddened by Disney Channel star’s early death

September 16, 2019 — by Kaasha Minocha and Harshini Velchamy

“It feels like a party everyday! Hey, Jessie! Hey, Jessie.” 

The ever-so catchy theme song rang in the background of the homes of more than 2 million 11-year-olds across the world, according to Hollywood Reporter. Recently, many former viewers of the show “Jessie” remembered this theme song after the passing of 20-year-old actor Cameron Boyce, who played one of the main characters, Luke Ross. 

The show “Jessie” made its debut on Disney channel in 2011 with its final episode airing in 2015. It followed a group of adopted children and their nanny in New York City as they navigated life through school and activities. 

In early July, Boyce passed away in his sleep due to epilepsy, a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures. It was later revealed that Boyce had been dealing with the disorder since he was 16. 

Boyce kept his condition secret from his fans, friends and co-stars. 

 “It didn’t define him,” said Victor Boyce, the late actor’s father, on an interview with Good Morning America. “He wasn’t scared. He never complained about anything.”

After his death, Boyce’s family and friends announced the launch of the Cameron Boyce Foundation, created to honor his legacy. The foundation focuses on advocacy for gun control, clean water access and epilepsy awareness, some of the causes Boyce was most passionate about. 

Several celebrities have also shared the link to donate to the foundation. They have mourned his loss on social media by posting tributes commenting on Boyce’s compassion, talent and caring outlook. 

Disney Channel actor Sofia Carson, who co-starred with Boyce in the “Descendants” trilogy, expressed her grief on her Instagram and posted a picture of Cameron with the caption, “To our angel, there are not enough words. Letting you go is not something I know how to do.”

Dove Cameron, who starred alongside Boyce in the Descendants films, also spoke out about what Boyce meant to her through a series of videos on Instagram. She mentioned how he talked her down from “countless ledges,” and has been a rock for her for the past six years.

Boyce’s death has not just impacted fellow co-stars, but also many students who are shocked at the loss of one of their childhood role models.  

Senior Meghna Gupta said that Boyce influenced her throughout her elementary school and early middle school years as Boyce was one of the most talented Disney Channel stars whom she admired for his creativity, dancing and charity work. 

“I loved the fact that he didn’t let Disney Channel define what he could or couldn’t do,” Gupta said. 

Sophomore Mira Bugata also felt the impact of the actor’s passing since her childhood was spent watching Boyce star on the show “Jessie.”

“He was my favorite actor on Jessie, and I was sad because I had never lost anyone,” Bugata said. “No one really saw it coming and even though we didn’t know him, he was still a part of all of our childhoods.” 

Boyce’s death has rocked the Disney Channel community. After his death, Disney uploaded a tribute to Boyce, as well as a video aimed to help younger viewers struggling with the loss of Boyce. The video is titled “Coping With Loss” and it reassures viewers that their strong reactions at the loss are normal and part of grieving.

The video tribute has amassed almost 14 million views and it contains videos of Boyce underlaid with voiceovers sharing stories of him.

Boyce’s legacy from his charity work to his movie career is one that has inspired youths all over America.

 As Boyce himself once said in his speech at the 2018 Thirst Project, “We all go … what you leave should be bigger than you.”

 

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