Cameron Boyce
The vibrant Disney Channel star, Cameron Boyce, died at 20 after an epileptic seizure. (Illustration by Natashna Anderson, School of the Art Institute of Chicago)

On the morning of Friday, July 6, ABC News reported that Cameron Boyce, a beloved Disney Channel actor, died at the age of 20 due to an “ongoing medical condition.” The report added that Boyce had a seizure in his sleep, which caused his death.

Throughout the coming days and weeks, the public continues to learn more about Boyce’s last hours and mourns his passing as family, friends and fans pay tribute to the young actor. His unexpected death shocked many, including myself.

Cameron Boyce began acting at 9 years old, debuting in the Panic! at the Disco music video “The Green Gentleman.” He was best known for his roles as Luke Ross on the 2011 Disney Channel series “Jessie” and Carlos (Cruella De Vil’s son) in Disney Original movie series “Descendants.” Boyce also acted alongside Hollywood star and comedian Adam Sandler, playing his son in “Grown Ups” and “Grown Ups 2.”

Aside from his acting career, Boyce also ceaselessly pursued philanthropy. He was actively involved within the Thirst Project, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to bring safe drinking water to communities all around the world. The Thirst Project awarded Boyce the Pioneer Spirit Award at the 2018 Thirst Gala for his humanitarian enthusiasm. He not only brought smiles to many homes but also brought relief to people in need.

Soon after the world learned about his death, many of his co-stars and friends took to social media to share their goodbyes. Karan Brar, Boyce’s co-star from “Jessie” and roommate, posted on Instagram saying, “You were the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

Adam Sandler also shared two photos of Boyce to his Instagram with captions reading, “Too young. Too sweet. Too funny. Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent kid around.” He also called for fans to continue supporting Boyce’s favorite charitable organizations.

However, it’s not just Boyce’s close friends and family who are shaken by the news. Countless fans also dedicated pictures and heartfelt messages to the deceased star.

After learning about Boyce’s passing, I noticed that my social media newsfeed on that particular day was filled with endless posts about him. Suddenly, it felt like the news cycle was turning social media into something much bigger than a silent obituary.

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This ripped me up. I keep trying and I can’t make anything make sense. He was blameless, and relentlessly joyful; he was good. Through and through, Cam is good, in all ways and to all people. And the most alive. It’s wrong. I am so confused and devastated and angry. But that isn’t very Cam. He’d cast any shade of sadness or darkness in colors of positivity; he couldn’t help himself but to always leave you smiling, or laughing, or dancing. So sincere, kid Truth. He was good. My heart is with his parents, Vic and Libby, full of grace, and his wonderful sister Maya. An unimaginable sorrow. I’m grateful for our Jessie family, with whom to uniquely grieve our guy — Peyton, Skai, Kevin and Karan, whose soul is also far too special to have to experience this depth of grief. There are beautiful connections and beams of light, ever present, truly the fingerprints of Cam still around and showing up in the midst of this. I love him so much. Forever. You’re alive in the legacy of love you built, and I will keep that light burning in me for the rest of my journey. The world was robbed. We’re better for you.

A post shared by Debby Ryan (@debbyryan) on

Boyce’s passing has shaken up a generation of people, specifically those who grew up watching him, including me. I felt that Boyce’s passing was more than just losing a respected child actor.

During his time on the Disney Channel, Cameron Boyce became a staple character on many household television screens. His audience became familiar with him, solidifying his presence in many people’s childhood memories.

His charisma allowed him to accumulate a fanbase amongst a generation who are the modern-day social media connoisseurs. Boyce was able to create this strong connection with his fans because they were able to grow up alongside Boyce, watching his journey to adulthood on their TV screens.

I, too, grew up watching Cameron Boyce on my TV. Similar to what his fans are vocalizing, growing up alongside the Disney star felt like a special journey that’s hard to describe with words, which is why his passing hit so hard.

It felt comforting to know that the boy we saw on our childhood shows was able to grow up nicely. With him gone, it left a void in our memories. This void not only left many of us feeling empty but also represented an ending to a part of our childhood none of us expected to end so soon.

I wasn’t aware of how much this event would affect me mentality, until I had an epiphany. While following up on the news, I finally was able to comprehend that death is truly inevitable. As naïve as it might sound, death is not something I think about as happening to people that are so young.

At the age of 20, I, like many of my peers, act as if I am invincible, taking risks without thinking much about the consequences. My life is just starting, with so much more time ahead of me to pursue my dreams and aspirations.

However, everyone has a timeline, and that timeline will eventually have an ending point. Boyce’s life and death has taught me that no matter how short one’s lifeline is, it is important to make the most out of it. Boyce’s devotion toward his philanthropy projects is a reminder to humanity that doing good is never a difficult task.

To that end, Cameron Boyce was truly unlike any other actor that I have ever seen. We will always remember the laughter and joyful memories he gave to so many children, who are now all grown up, and I am thankful to be able to be part of that generation.

“Descendants 3,” the third installment to the “Descendants” movie series, is set to premier on Aug. 2. In an official statement released on Thursday, July 11, the Disney Channel announced that it has cancelled the red carpet premiere event for the upcoming film. Instead, they will be donating to the Thirst Project, Cameron Boyce’s beloved charity. In addition, the team will be dedicating the movie to Boyce, with permission from his family.

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