“I’m in utter shock and heartbroken,” Spelling, 45, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement about Perry, who died at age 52 on Monday — just days after he suffered a massive stroke.
“I’m saddened for his kids whom he adored beyond words. He was so proud of Jack and Sophie,” Spelling says of the late father of two, who is survived by son Jack, 21, and daughter Sophie, 18, with ex-wife Rachel “Minnie” Sharp.
“Luke was one of the kindest and most humble human beings I’ve ever known,” she adds. “I’m grateful for the years of friendship we had. He truly was family to me, a protector and a brother. I’m so sorry for the loss that everyone is experiencing.”
Spelling starred opposite Perry on Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1990-2000, and over that time, the castmates’ bond became as close as family.
Following news of his sudden death, numerous 90210 costars expressed their condolences about Perry, who starred as bad boy Dylan McKay on the series.
Ian Ziering was the first 90210 star to pay tribute, tweeting, “Dearest Luke, I will forever bask in the loving memories we’ve shared over the last thirty years. May your journey forward be enriched by the magnificent souls who have passed before you, just like you have done here, for those you leave behind.”
Jennie Garth released an exclusive statement to PEOPLE: “My heart is broken. He meant so much to so many. Such a very special person. I share my deep sadness with his family and all who loved him. Such a terrible loss.”
Gabrielle Carteris, who played Andrea Zuckerman on the show, told PEOPLE exclusively, “I am absolutely heartbroken. Luke was a tremendous force in the lives of so many. He was a very sensitive soul who was kind, generous and he fought for the underdog. He was a strong voice and an advocate who will be so missed by all who knew him. He has left his mark – never to be forgotten. My heart goes out to his family, friends and fans around the globe.”
Perry’s death comes days after he suffered a stroke on Feb. 27. A source tells PEOPLE he never regained consciousness.
The actor remained “under observation” for five days but died on Monday, March 4.
“Actor Luke Perry, 52, passed away today after suffering a massive stroke,” read a statement from Perry’s rep.
“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,” continues the 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. No further details will be released at this time.”