Nicholas Lyndhurst, the Only Fools and Horses star, said he was “utterly grief stricken” following the death of his teenage son.
Archie Lyndhurst, 19, an actor best known for playing Ollie Coulton in Bafta-award winning CBBC comedy So Awkward, died at the family home in Fulham.
Police and paramedics were called “to a report of a concern for welfare” on September 22 but the teenager was found unresponsive and declared dead at the scene.
His death is being treated as “unexplained but not suspicious". An inquest will be opened next week.
In a statement released on behalf of himself and his wife, Lucy, on Thursday, Lyndhurst said: “Lucy and I are utterly grief stricken and respectfully request privacy.”
The BBC said that Archie, who would have turned 20 on Sunday, had died after a short illness.
We're so sorry to have to tell you that Archie Lyndhurst, who so brilliantly played Ollie in So Awkward on CBBC, has very sadly died after a short illness.— CBBC (@cbbc) October 1, 2020
Archie will be hugely missed by all who worked with him, and by all the fans who laughed along with Ollie in the show. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/SfXP8TIz2Q
As co-stars paid emotional tributes on social media, Mrs Lyndhurst moved to quash speculation that he had taken his own life.
Writing on co-star Sophia Dall’Aglio’s Instagram page, one fan asked how he had died, to which another suggested “it sounds like he may have taken his own life.”
Mrs Lyndhurst replied: “he didn’t. Don’t make up things you have no idea about.”
Archie began his acting career at the Sylvia Young Theatre School at the age of 10.
In 2013, his father told the BBC that his son had inherited “the acting gene”.
Writing in the Guardian two years later, Lyndhurst revealed that when Archie had told him he wanted to be an actor, he replied: ‘I can't offer any advice other than please don't do it.’
“He said: ‘Daddy, I just want to entertain people.’ I told Lucy: ‘"If I ever hear him say the f-word - 'famous' - the deal's off.’ He never has.”
Lyndhurst added that he wished he had been as good an actor as Archie at his age.
Archie had played Ollie Coulton in So Awkward since the first series aired in 2015 and had been dating co-star Nethra Tilakumara for 18 months.
Lyndhurst appeared alongside his son in one episode in 2019.
Archie has spoken about the fact that he had no idea his father was an actor when he decided he wanted to embark on the profession as a child but said he was “incredibly grateful for everything I've been given.”
Cheryl Taylor, CBBC's head of content, described Archie as "such a talented young actor", adding: "All of us at BBC Children's are devastated.
"He will be greatly missed by us all and our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends at this time."
Channel X North, which produces So Awkward, said in a statement: “We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear the news about our friend Archie. He was an incredibly talented performer and his contribution to So Awkward, on and off screen, will not be forgotten.
"As well as hilarious, he was a generous, kind hearted young man who we had the honour to work with on the show for seven years. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."
CBBC viewers were yesterday informed of Archie death as the latest episode of So Awkward was dedicated to the actor. Young fans were urged to talk to those close to them if upset by the news.
Co-stars remembered Archie’s sense of humour and kindness.
Samuel Small, who has also appeared in Game of Thrones, wrote on Instagram: "I’ve never met someone so full of life and had touched so many peoples hearts.
"I still can't quite comprehend that you have passed. You still had so much life to live and I'd give anything for you to keep on living it.”
Mrs Lyndhurst, who responded to most co-stars’ tributes, wrote in reply: "He will love you and watch over you forever."
Actress Cleo Demetriou recalled how Archie had helped the young cast cope with the stress and long hours when they first started work on the show, adding: “You were the most beautiful soul I have ever known, the most unique, loving and caring person on this planet.
“For the past 7 years, you’ve never failed to have my back, You always knew how to make me feel better and gave me arm tickles on demand.”
Mrs Lyndhurst told her: “He’ll never be far away poppet. He loved you dearly. Love you darling girl. X”
John Chalis, who played Boycie on Only Fools and Horses, wrote on Twitter: "The saddest news of all today. The death of Archie Lyndhurst,just starting out on his chosen career in acting.
"My heart aches for Nick and Lucy. They could not have loved him more."
Archie’s death is the second tragedy to hit BBC children’s television in 18 months after CBeebies star Mya-Lecia Naylor, 16, took her own life last April.