The news of Cameron Boyce's death on Saturday (July 6) shocked and devastated fans, friends, and co-stars of the Disney Channel actor. At just 20 years old, the Descendants star died of a seizure brought on by an "ongoing medical condition," his family's statement said. But even though his life was sadly cut short, the actor's final interview with Haute Living revealed a lot about the positive impact Boyce had on those around him — even at such a young age.
Roughly two months before his untimely death, the Grown Ups star spoke to the outlet about his family and how they inspired him to give back to those in need. As a result, Boyce was heavily involved with Thirst Project — an organization dedicated to providing safe drinking water to communities where it is not easily accessible — and raised more than $30,000 to aid in their mission. In April 2018, he was honored with the Pioneering Spirit Award at the 9th Annual Thirst Gala.
But his passion for charity work didn't develop on its own. Boyce credited his family for showing him just how fulfilling giving back can truly be. "There’s a long line of difference makers in my family," he said. "I'm following in the footsteps of some really strong men and women who have [shown] me what it means to give back; It's the greatest way to fulfill yourself. 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."
And just as his family led the way and inspired him to get involved in charity work, Boyce hoped he could use his platform to do the same and guide the way for others. "Many people have the heart to give back, but a lot don't know how to," he said. "I try to be the bridge for those people — whether that means getting them involved in one of my campaigns or inspiring them by showing them a blueprint of how to get others engaged."
For Boyce, his grandmother Jo Ann served as a major inspiration. In 1956, she was part of what became known as the Clinton 12 — the first group of African American students to desegregate Clinton High School in Tennessee. "She's a huge part of who I am. Being African American and Jewish, I have plenty of ancestors and family members that I can look to for strength, and more importantly, for a grateful outlook on life. Every one of them clawed and scratched for my sister and I to be in the position we're in today."
Clearly, the world lost a very caring person who dedicated much of his time to making the world a better place, and it hasn't gone unnoticed. In a statement made by Thirst Project following his death, they recognized Boyce for all that he did for the organization, and even more importantly, for leaving the world even greater than he found it.
"We are at loss for words and a bit shaken up from the news of the unfortunate and untimely passing of our dear friend," the statement said. "Cameron was such an amazing light to many and also did so much for Thirst Project. He was always looking to help others and in his #ThirstGala speech, he explained it perfectly. With his time here, he certainly left something bigger than himself and we are SO honored to have been a part of his life and to have been able to change the world together. As we remember him, let's all do our part to use what we have and leave something bigger than ourselves."