Jessie star Cameron Boyce's death sent shockwaves through the Disney Channel community, and even stars who did not work with him immediately felt the loss. Andi Mack star Lilan Bowden told PopCulture.com it felt like a "member of a family" she belonged to was gone and it left a "hole" at the Disney Channel. Boyce, 20, died suddenly in his sleep on July 6.
Bowden did not appear in a series with Boyce, but they filmed Andi Mack on the same stage as Jessie and they frequently went to the same events. When she heard of Boyce's death, her first thought went to the people who knew him personally.
"There's so many people. Well when we heard the news, it really was very affecting because... the Disney Channel community is so close," Bowden told PopCulture.com. "And I thought of all the people I know personally, that it personally affects."
Bowden went on to praise how Disney Channel executives take the prerogative to be "positively involved" in every aspect of the child stars' lives and to support them. That was on full display in the network's response to Boyce's death.
"I can say honestly that, the people, the higher-ups, the executives at Disney Channel make it their business to be positively involved in all of their kid's lives on the Disney Channel," she said. "They make it a point to show up for them. They make it a point to be there at events. They make it a point to call them outside of just business, to let them know that this is a family and they are there supporting them."
Bowden continued, "It's really hard. I really did feel like a member of a family that I'm a part of was gone, and it sent ripples."
She later said Boyce's death left "a big hole in the heart of the Disney Channel."
Boyce died on July 6 in his sleep after suffering a seizure related to epilepsy. His family launched The Cameron Boyce Foundation in his honor.
Before his death, Boyce filmed Descendants 3, which will air on Aug. 2.
"From a young age, Cameron Boyce dreamed of sharing his extraordinary artistic talents with the world. As a young man, he was fueled by a strong desire to make a difference in peoples' lives through his humanitarian work," Disney said in a statement earlier this month. "He was an incredibly talented performer, a remarkably caring and thoughtful person and, above all else, he was a loving and dedicated son, brother, grandson and friend."
Bowden starred in Andi Mack, which ended its three-season run on Friday.
Photo credit: Eric Schwabel (Bowden); Getty Images (Boyce)