Jahmil French’s Former Degrassi Costars Pay Tribute to Late Actor: 'Forever in My Heart'

Jahmil French's former costars are honoring the late actor after news of his unexpected death broke on Tuesday. 

French, best known for his role as Dave Turner in Canadian drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, died earlier this week at the age of 28, his rep confirmed in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. His cause of death has not yet been revealed. 

Melinda Shankar posted several tributes to French on her social media pages Tuesday. On Degrassi, Shankar, 29, played Alli Bhandari, a love interest of French's character. Fans of the show came to refer to their relationship as "Bhandurner," which the actress referenced as she honored the actor.

"Bhandurner forever in my heart," she wrote in one of her Twitter tributes.  

"@jahmilfrench you will always hold such a special place in my heart," she added on Instagram alongside a series of photos of her and French over the years. "Thank you for being one of the most talented, compassionate, kindest, funniest friends I have. You were so loved. Sharing some of my fav pics over the years to highlight his bright light. I'll miss our dance offs."

Stefan Brogren, a fellow former Degrassi star, praised French for his performance on the popular teen show.

"I'm sick with the news of Jahmil's passing," he wrote. "He performed Dave with such sensitivity and thoughtfulness and could make me laugh so easily. It was a pleasure to work with him and he will be missed. This is a real loss. Rest In Peace." 

"Wanted to pay my respects to an incredibly kind, funny, and talented individual; Jahmil French," added Dylan Everett. "One of the first people I met on Degrassi, he immediately made me feel welcome. He disarmed you with a smile and his confidence and energy was infectious. You'll be missed, brother."

Aislinn Paul wrote on Twitter, "Jahmil French was an incredible person, so full of talent and passion for his work. He lit up a room with his energy and dance moves. An easy smile and a natural charisma. He will be so missed."

Cristine Prosperi added in her own Twitter post, "My heart is so heavy… Truly one of a kind. Rest In Peace," while Andrea Lewis wrote, "Rest Easy King."  

"Still in shock," Chloe Rose tweeted, sharing several photos of French. "Jahmil will be missed. He was an integral part of the Degrassi family and certainly a huge part of my Degrassi days. He always wanted to make people laugh and smile, a true joy to be around. Rest in Peace."

Annie Clark tweeted a video of French dancing on stage, writing alongside it, "Heartbroken over the loss of our friend Jahmil French. This video is how I'll always think of him. So full of energy and fun. He was always dancing. A true talent and a great friend. We will all miss you so much Jahmil."

Another former Degrassi actor, Jessica Tyler, posted a lengthy tribute to French on Twitter and Instagram.

"I, along with my cast mates, had the pleasure of working with Jahmil for several years," she wrote. "And though it was work, it never felt that way. We grew up together, all of us. There are so many memories to look back on."

"Though not all of us have kept in case contact since Degrassi ended — and not for any reason other than the simple fact that time and life go on 0 at the end of the day, we are a family," Tyler continued. "Always have been, always will be. We are bound together, forever, by the unique experience we call, Degrassi. A place that many of us would call home to this day." 

"You are so loved Jahmil," the actress concluded. "My heart goes out to you and your family. Rest in Peace. Your kindness and bright light will not be forgotten. Much love to you, my friend."

"I've honestly been at a loss for words since I heard the news," Degrassi's A.J. Saudin added on his own Instagram Story. "This doesn't feel real."

"Jahmil, was one of the most talented actors I've ever worked with. One of the funniest kindest people I ever met," he continued. "The life of the party, every room he would walk into he would always be dancing and making people laugh and smile. Too many good memories. Thank you Jahmil. Rest in Peace King." 

French's coworkers from his other projects also shared their sadness at his death.

"I can confirm my good friend, co-worker, and all around inspiration, Jahmil French, passed away yesterday," wrote screenwriter and producer Joshua Safran, who worked with French on the Netflix series Soundtrack in 2019. "Only posting because I see the story getting out there. I will have more to say about him later. Right now we're all just processing this devastating news." 

Christina Milian, who also starred in Safran's Soundtrack, commented on French's most recent Instagram post from January, writing "You will be missed. 😢 Rest peacefully King."

Damon Gupton, who played French's father on the TV show The Divide in 2014, said the late star was a "bright light."

"This hurts," he wrote. "This young man was so talented. And kind. I had the pleasure of being tv father to him a few months on a series called The Divide. He was always a soulful, bright light. My god. Condolences to all who were touched by that light. There are many." 

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