Former 'Degrassi: The Next Generation' star Jahmil French dies at age 29

By Zach Harper

Degrassi: The Next Generation's former cast members are paying tribute to Jahmil French, who played Dave Turner on the show, after he has died at age 29.

The news of the Toronto-born actor's passing was broken by TV writer Joshua Safran, an executive producer and writer for shows such as Gossip Girl and Netflix's Soundtrack. He worked on the latter with Jahmil.

"I can confirm my good friend, co-worker, and all around inspiration, Jahmil French, passed away yesterday," Joshua tweeted on March 2. "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."

Melinda Shankar, who played Alli Bhandari, Jahmil's on-screen love, took to Instagram to share photos of herself with Jahmil on set and at speaking events.

"You will always hold such a special place in my heart," she wrote. "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."

She added more in a tweet in which she shared photos of Jahmil.

"So grateful for memories and deep convos with you, beautiful angel," she wrote. "Blessed that we got to be part of a big dysfunctional family together. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world. I just hope you knew how loved you were."

Melinda also shared a sweet behind-the-scenes video of her on set with Jahmil.

"We played a couple, but we were family," she wrote. "Thanks for making me laugh so much."

"Jahmil was one of the most gifted and effortless performers I've ever met," Munro Chambers, known for Eli Goldsworthy on the show, tweeted. "His vibrant personality lit up the room. Rest easy my friend."

Stefan Brogren, known as Archie "Snake" Simpson in the series, tweeted that he was "sick with the news of Jahmil's passing."

"He performed Dave with such sensitivity and thoughtfulness and could make me laugh so easily," the 48-year-old tweeted. "It was a pleasure to work with him and he will be missed. This is a real loss."

Annie Clark, who played Fiona Coyne, on the show, said she was "heartbroken" by the news, and shared a video of Jamil.

"This... is how I'll always think of him," she tweeted. "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."

Christina Milian, who stared with Jahmil in Soundtrack, commented under his final instagram post, which was a selfie.

"You will be missed. Rest peacefully King," she wrote.

It's not yet known why Jahmil passed away.

Jahmil (first row, right) with former Degrassi: The Next Generation cat members in 2012 (L-R, back): Annie Clark, Melinda Shankar, Aislinn Paul, Jordan Todosey, Alex Steele. (Front row) Munro Chambers and Luke Bilyk. Photo: © Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

Jahmil made his TV debut in 2009 with a role on Canadian crime drama Flashpoint, which starred former Headstones singer Hugh Dillon and former Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Felicity actress Amy Jo Johnson.

He landed his Degrassi: The Next Generation role same year. He played Dave until 2013, and his acting was critically acclaimed, garnering him a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series in 2013.

Jahmil later found further acting success with the Canadian film Boost. He also received a Canadian Screen Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 2018 for that role.

In Soundtrack, he starred alongside Jenna Dewan, Christina, Paul James of Greek and Madeleine Stowe.

We're sending Jahmil's family and friends our heartfelt condolences at this time.

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