Like many people, Kelly LeBrock was shocked to learn about John Hughes’s sudden death. Unlike most people, the actress knew him well: She starred in the 1985 comedy Weird Science. Reached by PEOPLE Friday, an emotional LeBrock reminisced about “a wonderful human being”:
“This is very tragic news. I’m devastated. I can’t believe he’s gone. He was an American treasure.
“He was always the biggest kid in the room. He was always running around with high top sneakers with no laces in them because he didn’t want to trip on his laces because he’d never tie them. He was just one of the boys and everybody loved being around him. He was a wonderful human being to work with. I loved him like crazy.
“I remember a scene from one of his movies (Sixteen Candles), where one of the relatives is in the kitchen stirring the pot with a cigarette in her mouth and ashes fall into the food. He knew how to make us laugh at ourselves. And he knew teenagers like no other, because he was one of them himself. He was so young at heart and could relate to the trials of growing up like no other Every film he came out with is still a masterpiece. He was a man who stood by his convictions and it showed in his films.”