Challis – best known for his role as Boycie in Only Fools and Horses – died on Sunday (19 September) aged 79. The actor’s family revealed that he “died peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer”.
Tributes from stars including Sir David Jason and Sue Holderness poured in for Challis following news of his death.
One unexpected star to remember the late actor was American rapper Ice T, who had become “Twitter friends” with Challis over the years.
The rapper – real name Tracy Lauren Marrow – wrote on Twitter: “I just heard John passed away. He somehow became a Twitter friend.
“I’m very sad. Although I never met him in person… Internet friends can become close.. RIP.”
As reported by Metro, Challis regularly wished Ice T and his family a Merry Christmas on social media.
The actor had also shared his appreciation for the rapper’s comedic tweets.
I just heard John passed away.. He somehow became a Twitter friend.. I’m very sad. Although I never met him in person.. Internet friends can become close.. RIP https://t.co/OubOefVLfr
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) September 19, 2021
Earlier this year, responding to a fan who had tweeted: “You used to be hard, what happened?”, Ice T quipped: “I came... Just give me a few mins…”
Challis responded to the rapper’s NSFW joke with an image of his Only Fools and Horses character laughing.
Earlier this month, the actor had also tweeted that he hoped to meet Ice T in New York next year.
It amazes people that I’m still going strong doing concerts almost every weekend and filming every weekday.. I’ll think about slowin down in about 7 more years when I’m 70. Maybe not… 💥💥💥🤛🏽 pic.twitter.com/uB3klZnaIj
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) September 4, 2021
— John Challis (@BeingBoycie) December 25, 2019
Challis played Boycie throughout Only Fools and Horses’ 22-year run. His character’s real name was Herman Terrance Aubrey Boyce.
The actor reprised the role for his own spinoff, titled The Green Green Grass, alongside Holderness.
Most recently, he appeared in ITV series Benidorm, playing Monty Staines.
Challis was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and was forced to cancel several tours.