In the wake of actor Alan Thicke's unexpected death on Tuesday, his friend and former Growing Pains co-star Kirk Cameron paid tribute to the late star on social media.
"I spent Monday through Friday for seven important years with Alan Thicke as my 'TV dad,'" Cameron, 46, captioned a Facebook photo of himself and Thicke on set of the series. "I'm shocked and truly heartbroken today at the news of his death. Alan was a generous, kind and loving man. I am so blessed to have grown up with him. Chelsea and I send our love and prayers to his family tonight. We will cherish the memories... 'sharing the laughter and love.'"
Thicke, who was best known for playing Dr. Jason Seaver on Growing Pains, suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter, on Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank, California at the age of 69. Before making a name for himself in the US, the Canadian-born TV host, writer, composer and actor was well-known in his homeland.
Cameron played Mike Seaver, son of Thicke's television character, from 1985 to 1992. The Christian actor met his wife, Chelsea Noble, when she played his love interest on the show. The two married in 1991 and are parents of six children.
According to Crosswalk, Cameron converted from atheism to Christianity at the height of his "Growing Pains" career. As he got deeper into his faith, Cameron refused to participate in racy or suggestive scenes, prompting Thicke to advise the young man to "quit Hollywood", as the industry didn't align with Cameron's beliefs. Cameron took Thicke's advice, and has since enjoyed a successful career in the faith-based film industry.
Thicke told Fox News during a 2012 interview: "What I said was, very sincerely, 'If you're seriously disturbed by a show like Growing Pains being blue then I think you're not going to find a gentler vehicle on network T.V. for your beliefs, and what you should do is take the wonderful fan base which you have, and take your fan base to Christian broadcasting where you don't have to fight with the people you disagree with.' And all these years later I think that's exactly what he's done."
On social media, Cameron's younger sister, actress Candace Cameron Bure, also remembered the impact Thicke had on her family: "I'm sad beyond words that Alan Thicke has passed away," Bure wrote alongside a photo of herself and Thicke on the set of Fuller House. "I've known you since I was 8 years old and so glad I had the pleasure of working with you again so recently on Fuller House."
Bure, 40, who guest starred on Growing Pains, continued: "You were a part of my family and hockey family. You will be greatly missed. My heart hurts."