Charles Esten shared that he'd known Cameron Boyd for years before they became costars, as the late actor had gone to school with Esten's children

By Maria Pasquini
July 07, 2019 12:00 PM

Cameron Boyce made a lasting impact on Charles Esten, who played the late actor’s father on the Disney Channel series Jessie.

Shortly after the tragic news broke that Boyce had died at the age of 20, Esten shared a touching tribute to his onscreen son — whom he’d known for years as Boyce had attended the same elementary school as Esten’s children.

My family and I are devastated today, by the loss of our young and amazing friend, Cameron Boyce,” he wrote on Twitter.

“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,” he continued. “It was there we were introduced to his endless talent, kindness, and joy for living.”

AFF-USA/Shutterstock; Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Opening up about the first talent show he ever saw Boyce perform in, Esten shared that it was obvious the youngster “was destined” for stardom.

“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,” he wrote.

RELATED: Disney Channel Star Cameron Boyce Dies at 20

Despite Boyce’s natural talent, Esten praised the young actor for always remaining down to earth.

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,” he wrote.

“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,” Esten, who acted alongside Boyce on the television series, which ran for four seasons from 2011-15, added.

Wrapping up his tribute, Esten sent “love and heartfelt prayers” to the late actor’s family.

“Your Cameron was a blessing to us, as he was to so many others in this world. May you feel the breadth of love being poured out for him today, and may God comfort you as you mourn,” he added. “Rest In Peace, Cameron. You will be dearly remembered, my friend, and you will be greatly missed.”

RELATED: Adam Sandler, Disney Channel Stars & More React to Death of Cameron Boyce: ‘Our Hearts Are Broken’

News of Boyce’s death was first confirmed on Saturday night.

“It is with a profoundly heavy heart that we report that this morning we lost Cameron,” a family spokesperson said in a statement to PEOPLE, sharing that the cause of the young actor’s death was due to “an ongoing medical condition.”

“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,” the family spokesperson said. “We are utterly heartbroken and ask for privacy during this immensely difficult time as we grieve the loss of our precious son and brother.”

The news of Boyce’s death was first reported on by ABC News.

Cameron Boyce
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Many who worked with Boyce, who also starred in the Disney Channel franchise Descendants, went on to mourn the young actor’s death.

“My Love, Light and Prayers go out to Cameron and his Family. Cameron brought Love, Laughter and Compassion with him everyday I was in his presence. His talent, immeasurable. His kindness and generosity, overflowing,” wrote Descendants director Kenny Ortega.

Adam Sandler, who played Boyce’s father in the films Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2, also remembered the actor.

“Too young. Too sweet. Too funny. Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent kid around. Loved that kid. Cared so much about his family. Cared so much about the world. Thank you, Cameron, for all you gave to us. So much more was on the way. All our hearts are broken. Thinking of your amazing family and sending our deepest condolences,” he wrote on Instagram.

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