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Celebs react to Treat Williams’s death

Celebrities across Hollywood are paying their respects to Treat Williams after he died Monday following a motorcycle accident. In the wake of the tragic news, tributes poured in — both to PEOPLE and on social media — from Williams’ friends and costars, including Gregory Smith, Sarah Drew, Melissa Gilbert, Wendell Pierce and Kim Cattrall.

“This news is devastating,” Smith, who played Williams’ son on Everwood for four seasons from 2002-2006, told PEOPLE in a statement. “Treat was a wonderful man and a brilliant actor. Above all, he loved his family so much. I’m very grateful for the time I got to spend as part of his extended tv family. He made an indelible impression on me during my most formative years. I will always cherish my time with Treat and think fondly of his stories, his laugh and his passion for adventure. I’m sending love to his family, Pam, Gil and Elinor. He will be deeply missed.”

Everwood costar Drew said in a statement to PEOPLE, “I’m utterly heartbroken by the tragic and sudden death of Treat Williams. My experience working with Treat on Everwood was formative in my life and career. We had a beautiful and extremely close-knit family during our years in Salt Lake City. I learned so much from Treat’s talent and leadership and we have lost a bright light today. My heart goes out to his family.”

Treat Williams, Star of ‘Everwood’ and ‘Hair,’ Dead at 71 Following Motorcycle Accident
Gilbert shared two posts on Instagram about Williams. The first was posted earlier on Monday, which read, “This is not real. It can’t be. Oh, This one hurts. #rip #treatwilliams”

A second, lengthier one then read: “I needed some time to process Treat’s death before I could share my story. I have to start by saying that when I was a girl, Treat as Berger in the movie Hair, was one of my first major crushes. MAJOR. Heart palpitating, butterflies in my tummy , crushing!”

She went on to recall a time that Williams helped charter a plane so she could attend a memorial service for her best friend’s son. “Treat, upon hearing why I needed the plane, sent it to me, basically gratis. I paid the pilots’ salary. That’s all,” she wrote. “The night I left Toronto, I got to the plane and he’d stocked it with food and had a desk set up where I could write my eulogy. He’d even sent a note offering his condolences.”

“All of this, and here’s the amazing part, we had never met. Not once. That’s the kind of man Treat was. I did meet him at an award thing a few years later and got to thank him in person. He was so humble about it,” she continued. “His generosity had enabled me to be with Sandy and her family the night before the service and to help them prepare and help her to dress the next morning. Treat’s help that day was invaluable, not just to me but to many, many people. None of us will forget his kindness and humanity. Especially me. Oh how you are loved and oh how you will be missed. All my love to Pam and the kids during this horrible, heartbreaking time. Dearest Treat my friend and childhood crush, may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Several stars also reacted to the news in the comments section of Gilbert’s first post. Rosie O’Donnell made reference to Williams’ role in Hair, writing: “claude hooper bukaski – i loved him” (Williams played George Berger in the film.)

Facts of Life actress Mindy Cohn commented “💔” while Jonathan Bennett wrote, “Oh my god”. Patti Stanger also expressed her sadness, writing, “I’m so upset! I met Treat at Hallmark [he] was the most loveliest man! 😢”

Beverley Mitchell commented, “Noooooo this is so sad! 😢 Treat was incredible and sooo missed! 💔” and Joely Fisher added, “F—ing awful”

In addition to his comment on Instagram, Bennett also shared a statement with PEOPLE, honoring Williams as “the definition of a showman.”

“Working with and being around Treat was such a special thing that I can’t explain. It was like lightning in a bottle,” Bennett said. “All he ever wanted to do was make you laugh and entertain you. He was the definition of a showman and brought so much joy to all of us by doing what he loved doing. He is who I looked up to as an actor and a human. My heart is so heavy right now.”

Bennett also shared a touching tribute about Williams and his allyship, noting that, “getting to play his TV son in two movies was an honor, and we are all so lucky to have been in his presence.”

“But something he did that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life is the hug he made sure to give Brad my TV husband as he got out of the car in our first scene. That will always stick with me. He wanted to make sure as a TV father he was on camera giving his gay son’s husband a huge hug and kiss when we showed up for Christmas,” he recalled. “He thought it was important for other fathers watching to see the love and support between a dad and his son’s husband, it was so important to him. That’s the kind of love Treat had for all of us. My love goes out to everyone that was lucky enough to have had Treat in your life.”

Kim Cattrall shared a photo of Williams and wrote beside it, “I’m in shock! RIP Dear Treat. My condolences to Pam, Gilles, Ellie and the family. A wonderful actor and friend.”

In a tweet of his own, Wendell Pierce remembered Williams for being “kind and generous.”

“Treat Williams was a passionate, adventurous, creative man,” he wrote. “In a short period of time, he quickly befriended me & his adventurous spirit was infectious. We worked on just 1 film together but occasionally connected over the years. Kind and generous with advice and support. RIP”

Everwood alum Emily VanCamp posted on Instagram, “The many times we worked together- always wonderful and I was always excited for the next time. Sending all my love to your family Treat. Fly high my friend.”

Justine Bateman shared a photo of the two together and tweeted alongside it: “Working with Treat Williams in Mamet’s ‘Speed the Plow’ at Williamstown in ‘91 was the start of great friendship. Damn it, damn it. Treat, you were the best. Love you.”

Actor Kristoffer Polaha shared a slideshow of photos with Williams from the set of Hallmark Channel’s Rocky Mountain Christmas on Instagram. “RIP Treat,” he wrote. “Your stories will stick with me for the rest of my life. I will tell them often and pass them along. Godspeed, brother.”

Fellow Hallmark star Andrew Walker added on his Instagram Story that he was “heartbroken” over the news and he “learned so much from this man.”

Sharing a photo of himself with Williams, actor James Woods wrote, “Treat and I spent months in Rome filming Once Upon a Time in America. It can be pretty lonely on the road during a long shoot, but his resilient good cheer and sense of humor was a Godsend. I really loved him and am devastated that he’s gone. #RIP #TreatWilliams”
Hallmark also paid tribute to Williams, who appeared in several of their projects over the years.

“We are heartbroken over the passing of Treat Williams, a beloved member of our Hallmark family and an immense talent who captured the hearts of millions,” the network said in a statement to PEOPLE. “It was a privilege to have worked with Treat, who brought to life so many memorable characters over the years. We will remember him for the joy he brought to our screens, and the legacy he leaves behind. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.”

After sharing the statement on their Instagram, several stars commented and expressed their sadness.

“So awful. Yes RIP Treat. You were one of the good ones ❤️” wrote Jen Lilley while Alexa PenaVega added, “😭 absolutely heart breaking.”

Nancy Travis wrote: “Shocked and Heartbroken – truly wonderful actor and lovely man,” and Ana Ayora was also devastated by the news, writing, “💔😞 Deeply feeling my dear friends death. Grateful to know his incredibly generous heart and joy filled spirit.”

Williams’ Chesapeake Shores costar Barbara Niven shared a heartfelt tribute to the actor on Instagram following the “unexpected and immense loss.”

“Treat lived large and savored every bit of life. He loved his craft and it was an honor to spend six years with him on Chesapeake Shores,” she shared. “He truly was the patriarch of our family, both on and off the set. And he made it so much fun.”

“He would suddenly break into a song from Grease or Hair as we were rehearsing a scene, and came in with horrible dad jokes every day to make the crew laugh,” she continued. “What an actor he was. I think he was this generation’s Spencer Tracy.”

She also spoke about Treat’s interest in aviation, sharing, “Treat was a pilot and loved flying. He often texted me photos from the window of his airplane, looking out at the sky. He knew that one of my favorite poems is ‘High Flight’, written by John Gillespie Magee. It talks about ‘touching the face of God’ while you’re flying. I always asked Treat, is that what it feels like? Did you touch God today? I think that’s what he is doing right now.”

She concluded: “Fly high, Treat. Thank you for letting us fly with you for a little while. We will miss you dearly. ❤️”

Billy Baldwin wrote a touching tribute on Twitter, remembering the late actor for all his great qualities.

“He had it all. Smart. Talented. Funny. Charming. Successful. Handsome. Compassionate. Heart of gold. And that name… Treat Williams,” he wrote. “He truly and deeply cared about what’s going on here in America and around the world. Climate change, social justice, freedom, truth, tolerance… love.”

“Beloved by his family, friends, fans, colleagues… his community. A terrible loss. You will be missed. Rest in power Treat,” Baldwin added.

John Travolta paid tribute to his Broadway friend in an Instagram Story, featuring a photo of the pair on stage. “Treat Williams and I got our start together in NYC appearing in 2 Broadway shows Grease and Over Here,” he wrote. “I’m so sorry Treat. My thoughts are with you and your family. You will be missed. Love, John.”

Sharon Stone also contributed to the conversation by sharing PEOPLE’s breaking news headline regarding Williams’ death. “Sad news rest in peace brother,” she wrote in an Instagram story.

Williams’ death was confirmed to PEOPLE on Monday evening by his agent of 15 years, Barry McPherson. The actor was 71.

“He was killed this afternoon. He was making a left or a right [and] a car cut him off,” McPherson said. “I’m just devastated. He was the nicest guy. He was so talented.”

“He was an actor’s actor. Filmmakers loved him. He’s been the heart of the Hollywood since the late 1970s,” McPherson continued. “He was really proud of his performance this year. He’s been so happy with the work that I got him. He’s had a balanced career.”

Jacob Gribble, the fire chief for Dorset, Vermont, told PEOPLE the crash happened on Monday around 5 p.m. near Dorset, Vermont. Per Gribble, investigators believe the driver of a car was turning and didn’t see Williams’ motorcycle. WIlliams was the only person hurt and a LifeNet helicopter was summoned to airlift him to a hospital in New York. The Vermont State Police also put out a press release later on Monday, confirming Williams’ identity and the details surrounding the crash.

With more than 120 credits to his name, Williams’ career extended over four decades. He made his film debut in 1975 in the thriller Deadly Hero. From there, he began to take on more film roles, including 1979’s Hair, which earned him his first Golden Globe nomination for new star of the year – actor. He later earned another Golden Globe nom for best actor in a motion picture drama for his role in 1981’s Prince of the City.

In 2002, he began portraying the leading role of Dr. Andrew “Andy” Brown on The WB’s Everwood. He starred on the series for all four seasons, and even earned himself a SAG Award nomination for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series in 2003-04.

Other credits of his include Steven Spielberg’s 1941, Heart of Dixie, Blue Bloods, The Late Shift, Chicago Fire, Chesapeake Shores, Hallmark’s The Christmas House, and Netflix’s Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square and The Noel Diary.

The actor is survived by his wife, actress Pam Van Sant, and their two children, Gill and Ellie.

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