Radio Disney/Image Group LA
In what would be his final interview, the Descendants star credited the “long line of difference makers” in his family with cultivating his passion to help make the world a better place.
“I’m following in the footsteps of some really strong men and women who have showed me what it means to give back,” he told the media outlet at the time. “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.”
One “difference maker” is his grandmother Jo Ann Boyce. His grandmother was a member of the Clinton 12—a group of African American students who were the first to desegregate a state-supported high school in the south in 1956.
“She’s a huge part of who I am,” Boyce said. “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.”
He also opened up about how he tried to inspire others, such as by filling in the gap between wanting to give back and knowing how to take action.
“Many people have the heart to give back, but a lot don’t know how to,” he told Haute Living. “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.”
Over the course of his lifetime, Boyce worked on many philanthropic initiatives, including bringing awareness to the Global Water Crisis and raising more than $30,000 for the Thirst Project.
In addition to speaking about philanthropy, Boyce offered some words of wisdom to those chasing a dream.
“Fail and fail and fail until you don’t fail,” he said. “That’s the cycle. You’ll fail until you don’t, and then you’ll re start the process over again.”
News of Boyce’s death broke on Sunday, July 7. According to his rep, he passed away in his sleep due to a seizure, which was the result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated. He was 20 years old.