Dove Cameron will always hold a special place in her heart for Cameron Boyce.
In an interview for Seventeen‘s digital cover, the Liv and Maddie star, 23, recalled the emotional rollercoaster she experienced after her Descendants costar Boyce suddenly died from epilepsy at age 20 on July 6.
“When I heard about Cameron, I had just woken up early in a London hotel room to the sound of my phone ringing off the hook,” she explained. “I was nervous about why I could be getting so many texts and calls, so I only looked at my mother’s text. I knew she would be the gentlest, and the most concise, whatever it was.”
“It explained what had happened and I immediately phoned Boo Boo [Stewart], who had already called me twice,” Cameron continued. “We just sobbed without speaking. If there was a word stronger than devastated that could describe the depth of the pain that I was feeling, I would use it.”
Before the Disney Channel stars formed their tight friendship on the Descendants films, Cameron was impressed by Boyce’s personality during his time on Jessie, which he starred in from 2011 to 2015.
“I had always thought, ‘damn, what a charismatic, bright and brilliant kid,’ ” Cameron said, and recalled the moment when they first met, when she jumped immediately out of her car and hugged him.
“‘This is going to sound so weird, but we’re about to do this new thing together, and I’m going to hug you, because I can promise you now, we are going to be friends,'” she recalled telling Boyce upon meeting him.
“From that first day onward, Cameron was my friend and he treated me, like he treated everyone else, like they were the most important person in the room,” she continued. “I loved him like a brother, and I learned from him every day, how to be joyful, how to be resilient, how to be patient, no matter the circumstances. I couldn’t begin to quantify the wisdom and generosity that this kid had. I still learn from him every day.”
Since Boyce’s sudden death, his Descendants costars have struggled with losing one of their own, but have found comfort in each other.
“Me, Boo Boo, Cam and Sofia [Carson] still have our core 4 group chat active and open, as we have for 5 years,” Cameron explained to the outlet. “It’s hard when there are no adequate words to express the pain we are all feeling, but the usual text is ‘love you.’ Or ‘are you eating?’ Or ‘how are we all today?’ I think something like this horrible loss makes you realize how important you are all to each other. I am grateful for my chosen family at a time like this.”
Boyce’s family, friends, and Disney Channel costars have honored the late actor since his death with emotional tributes on social media. Cameron shared her first post three days after his death, with a heartfelt series of Instagram videos where she paid tribute to her “earth angel.”
“I felt really weird about posting about Cameron on social media because I felt really emotional and private and intimate and social media is the opposite of that,” she shared in the black-and-white video. “I just couldn’t quite reconcile the two or make them fit so I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
“I’ve decided that the only way to get through it right now is to be expressive and connective,” she continued, before revealing her open letter. “The last 72 hours have felt like two weeks, and I’ve spent them trying to make my thoughts and feelings into words and communicate about anything I’m feeling.”
After offering her condolences to Boyce’s family, she continued by noting how special Boyce was, recalling specific moments from their friendship in which the actor went out of his way to help her.
“Cameron was one of my favorite people alive in the world. Though I know that’s not unique to me, Cameron was magic — an earth angel,” she said. “Over the last six years, since he was only 14, Cameron talked me down from countless ledges, talked me through eating disorders, helped me out of a dark relationship and through endless breakdowns.”
She also called her Descendants costar “undoubtedly the most talented person most of us will ever know” and recognized how he “was always good and kind,” “selfless and generous” and “an ultimate example of a human being.”
Following his death, Boyce’s family started the Cameron Boyce Foundation. According to the foundation’s website, the “Cameron Boyce Foundation provides young people artistic and creative outlets as alternatives to violence and negativity and uses resources and philanthropy for positive change in the world. The Foundation was established in 2019 to honor Cameron’s legacy.”
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