Billy Kametz, best known for his work as a voice actor, died on Thursday, June 9 after battling colon cancer. He was 35.
News of his death was shared on his GoFundMe page, which was set up shortly after he shared his diagnosis in April. The page’s organizer, his event agent A. Jinnie McManus, shared the tragic news in an update on the page, along with the actor’s obituary, and kind towards directed toward his supporters.
"Anyone who has met Billy Kametz will tell you he is one of the warmest, kindest, most-sincere human beings on this earth," the page said. "Quick to laugh with his infectious smile, he brings joy to everyone around him — whether that is a room full of friends and family, gracious fans at conventions, or, most recently, the nurses and doctors who attended to him in the hospital."
“Most importantly, I hope you know how appreciated you all were and how much strength you provided. Billy and I would regularly share thoughts of disbelief and joy at the outpouring of generosity you all gave him,” the GoFundMe update read. “Know that he left this world peacefully, knowing how loved he is and always will be. I miss my friend terribly. But it comforts me that his legacy will continue with his work and all of the fans who are even now discovering what an extraordinary man he was.”
According to his obituary, Kametz was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on March 22, 1987. He had a lifelong dream of being an actor since he was a child and got his big break when he joined the entertainment staff on the Disney Cruise Line before moving to California five years ago when he was offered the role of Aladdin in “Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular.”
In recent years, Kametz was well known for his work as a voice actor for video games and anime characters, including the characters Josuke Higashikata in “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” Ren in “Pokémon Journeys” and Shigeru Aoba in “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” He also won the best English voice acting performance at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards for his work voicing Naofumi Iwatani in “The Rising of the Shield Hero.”
Beyond his roles and work as an actor, Kametz's obituary noted that he was perhaps best known for his sincerity and loving personality.
"His infectious personality and smile always lit up a room with so much joy and happiness," his obituary read. "Billy always left a positive impression on anyone he came in contact with. His love for his family, friends and girlfriend was always most important to him and that love will carry on forever."
On April 26, Kametz posted a video on his social media sharing that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. At the time, he said that he was “doing OK” and that he had a supportive team of doctors and specialists behind him. He said that he had already started chemotherapy treatments and was getting radiation done on various areas of his spine.
“It sucks, it’s just a freak of nature thing that happened that I just gotta deal with now and we’re gonna do it,” Kametz said, later adding, “I’m staying really positive, and that’s the biggest reason that I wanted to make this video. It’s just to let you know that I have so much support, so much positivity surrounding me… I just want to let you guys know that I’m not going to quit, I’m not going to stop fighting, and I’m gonna get through this.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S. and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in American men and women combined.
Some of the most common symptoms of colon cancer include unintended weight loss, weakness and fatigue, blood in the stool and abdominal pain and cramping. The disease is beatable in 90 percent of cases that are detected early, according to Stand Up to Cancer.
Many people think of colorectal cancer as an older person’s disease, but an alarming spike in the number of younger Americans being diagnosed is prompting calls to start screening earlier.
Tributes poured out across social media following the news of Kametz's death.
"You were one of the best of us... another light gone too soon," one person wrote on Facebook. "Everything about you made me smile. Knowing you are gone too soon brings only tears. I am grateful you are no longer suffering; know you are deeply missed here on Earth though. We love you Billy, always and forever."