Laura Marano has nothing but positive things to say about fellow Disney Channel actor Cameron Boyce, who died at the age of 20 over the weekend.
“He was such an incredible guy and I think there are so many amazing memories that I’m sure so many people have of him,” the 23-year-old actress and singer told PEOPLE Now.
Marano starred in Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally around the same time as his series Jessie, which ran for four seasons from 2011-2015.
The actress and singer praised Boyce for his involvement with the non-profit Thirst Project.
“The last gala that they had, he was awarded an award there and actually made such a beautiful speech,” she said. “He was a really, really incredibly guy and I’m just really feeling for his family right now [and] his super close friends.”
Boyce was honored in April 2018 with the Pioneering Spirit Award at the 9th Annual Thirst Gala. In addition to all of his work spreading awareness about the global water crisis, he raised over than $30,000 to help build two wells in Swaziland.
“He loved giving back, and he loved this idea of really participating in something that’s bigger than yourself. And I hope that everyone takes that with them and tries to live their life that way,” Marano added. “Hopefully we can all learn to heal during this time.”
Focusing on the young actor’s passion for making “the world a better place,” in her own tribute, Jessie costar Debby Ryan shared a clip from Boyce’s acceptance speech at the Thirst Gala.
“It’s crazy, we can tweet whenever we want and we can use social media and Instagram and make the world a better place,” Boyce said in the clip, which Ryan posted on her Instagram Story. “Instead of a worse one, which so many people use it for.”
“We need to use what we have and make the world a better place for other people, other people, people who need us,” Boyce concluded.
In his final interview before his death, Boyce spoke to Haute Living about how his family provided him with a blueprint as to how he could give back — and what he could accomplish in doing so.
“There’s a long line of difference makers in my family. I’m following in the footsteps of some really strong men and women who have showed me what it means to give back; it’s the greatest way to fulfill yourself,” he said in the interview, which was published in May.
“Every time I talk to someone who shares that similar passion, we talk about how there aren’t many feelings more euphoric. Changing someone else’s life positively changes yours for the better as well,” he added.
Boyce died in his sleep Saturday morning of a seizure brought on by an “ongoing medical condition,” a family spokesperson said.
“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 spokesperson said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
“We are utterly heartbroken and ask for privacy during this immensely difficult time as we grieve the loss of our precious son and brother.“
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