"He is a star. But he’s like a different kind of star. He’s a shining star in the sky," Jo Ann Boyce said of Cameron
“His nature, his giving nature, loving nature. That’s his legacy. As well as his talent,” Jo Ann told East Tennessee ABC station WATE.
In addition to starring roles on the Disney Channel, Cameron took after Jo Ann and was a champion of human and civil rights causes. Jo Ann was a member of the “Clinton 12,” a group of students who were the first to integrate into an all-white high school in Clinton, Tennessee in the 1950s.
Jo Ann’s story was told in a Disney XD video that was published in 2016 in honor of Black History Month narrated by Cameron. Cameron’s sister, Maya, and parents, Libby and Victor, were all interviewed for the project, an experience that Jo Ann says she will cherish.
“And for him to be a part of that and to share that with his young viewers,” Jo Ann told WATE. “To show that his grandmother had been involved in something that he felt like he was stepping on my shoulders and to make the world a better place, that was an incredible experience.”
Jo Ann echoed gratitude expressed earlier in the week by Victor, thanking fans for the outpouring of support in the wake of Cameron’s death.
“He is a star. But he’s like a different kind of star. He’s a shining star in the sky. We’re grateful for everyone who is sending us the love and the support that we need right now. Thank you,” she told the outlet.
Cameron clearly looked up to his grandmother. In an Instagram post from 2018, the Descendants star gushed over her civil rights legacy.
“When your Nana is a civil rights legend, you tag along to important events where she’s recognized, and take 8,000 pictures of her,” he said in the post. “Yesterday the Tennessee State Museum opened its doors. In the ‘Tennessee Transforms’ section, they recognize the Clinton 12, the FIRST group of African Americans to desegregate an all white school in the south. She changed the WORLD. I love her and you should too.”
In addition to supporting civil rights, Cameron was involved in the non-profit Thirst Project, an organization that raises awareness about the global water crisis. He was honored by the group with the Pioneering Spirit Award last year for raising $30,000 for two wells in Swaziland, according to Good Morning America.
“What you leave should be bigger than you,” he said when he was presented with the award. “We need to use what we have, and to make the world a better place for other people. Other people. People who need us. I hope that you guys really think about tonight, and leave something that is bigger than yourselves.”
While an autopsy was completed on Monday, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office decided to investigate further before releasing the official cause of Cameron’s death.
A statement released on Saturday by a spokesperson for the Boyce family said that he died after suffering a seizure in his sleep.
“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 statement read “We are utterly heartbroken and ask for privacy during this immensely difficult time as we grieve the loss of our precious son and brother.”
On Sunday, Victor expressed his grief on Twitter.
“I’m overwhelmed with the love and support our family has received,” he said. “It really does help to ease the pain of this nightmare I can’t wake up from. I can’t thank you guys enough.”