As a late Disney bloomer, I didn't get to experience Disney Channel as full of a length as my peers had growing up, and it was only when I got to high school that I decided to jump into whatever shows were airing at the time, one of which was "Jessie."
Even if the show itself was not the best the channel had to offer – to put it lightly – it introduced me to Cameron Boyce (a.k.a. Luke Ross). This was followed by his minor role in both "Grownups" movies and his major role as Cruella de Vil's dog-fearing son Carlos in all three "Descendants" TV movies on Disney Channel.
So needless to say, I was shocked that morning from just two Julys ago – a month or so before "Descendants 3" was expected to air – when my dad woke me up to tell me that Cameron Boyce died at age 20 from an epileptic seizure.
I couldn't believe it at first. Cameron Boyce, younger than me by over three years, whom I remember as a young boy from "Jessie" and the "Grownups" movies, and then as a maturing young man in the "Descendants" DCOMs, and who – to quote my mom – "had his whole life ahead of him," dead? I found it incredulous… but then I remembered Cory Monteith's untimely death from a drug overdose and how young he was – though much older by comparison – and this was while "Glee" was still airing new episodes, whereas Jessie had been over for the past few years.
Please don't take this the wrong way: I'm not saying that both tragedies are the same.
I'm only saying that one was far less expected by comparison, but nevertheless, both of these actors' deaths came as complete shocks to me, as I had grown to love them from their portrayals on the small screen but also was deeply unaware of what exactly they were individually going through, both of which in turn had ultimately cut their lives short.
On this past Monday's episode of "Dancing With The Stars," Skai Jackson (a.k.a. Boyce's former costar on "Jessie" as Zuri Ross) paid tribute to her late costar by dedicating to him her performance of the foxtrot to John Legend's "Ordinary People" with dance partner Alan Bersten.
"He really molded me into the person that I am now," she said, according to Pop Sugar. "I know that he would be really proud of me. I know that he loved "Dancing With The Stars" and he loved dancing. I just want to show him that this dance is for him."
Trust me when I say that once you see her performance, which had earned Jackson her first 10 for the season after moving the judges – as well as the audience – to tears, you will certainly agree that it is nothing short of beautiful…
Skai Jackson's Foxtrot – Dancing with the Stars www.youtube.com