As she grieves over Luke Perry’s sudden death, Rosanna Arquette is remembering the Beverly Hills, 90210 actor’s 30-year friendship with her late sister, transgender activist and actress Alexis Arquette.
“One of the memories that I have that is beautiful is when my mother was dying, Luke came and brought his new baby daughter and put her in bed with my mom, who was so happy,” Rosanna, 59, tells PEOPLE. “The gift of life. She loved Luke, we all did. Alexis and Luke were very close friends.”
Perry, 52, was hospitalized on Feb. 27 after suffering a massive stroke and died Monday. Alexis, one of the first transgender activists in Hollywood, died in September 2016 of complications stemming from HIV, which she had contracted nearly 30 years earlier. She was 47.
“I know Alexis is with him, I believe that,” Rosanna says. “They loved each other deeply and were so close. Luke never judged Alexis just loved her as she was. And it was a gift. Luke was a good man.”
She continues: “He was generous and kind and truly a beautiful soul. I’m so horribly broken-hearted for his family, his kids. Though I haven’t seen them for awhile. Though I didn’t see him a lot, when we did, we always had a warm and connected conversation. This is a terrible loss.”
Perry was father to son Jack, 21, and 18-year-old daughter Sophie with his ex Rachel “Minnie” Sharp.
Alexis and Perry had been friends since their early days in the business; he spoke about her when introducing her other sister Patricia Arquette at the 28th Annual GLAAD Awards in 2017.
“Look when you love somebody, you love them. Bottom line,” Perry told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “And I loved Lex and Lex loved me, and I don’t need to explain that to anybody. That’s how love works, and that’s what’s so special about the message Patricia spreads.”
Patricia, 50, also shares memories of Perry with PEOPLE.
“Luke was the most incredible friend. He was an old school man. Stand-up and straight-shooting. He was integral and fair and good and strong,” the Escape at Dannemora star says in a statement. “His joy was being a father to kids, Jack and Sophie, and he had found true joy and happiness with his great love, Madison. It’s a true loss to all of us who knew him and to those who didn’t. He was a great talent and was a strong and stalwart man, and they will never make another like him.”
Perry’s connection to the Arquette family goes beyond his relationship with Alexis, too; he starred alongside her brother David Arquette in the 1992 cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a precursor to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s wildly popular TV series of the same name. (Alexis had a cameo as a vampire DJ.)
When Perry died, “he was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, step-father Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends,” Perry’s rep told PEOPLE in a statement. ”The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning.”
In lieu of flowers, the Perry family ask that donations be made to Fight Colorectal Cancer and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.