We're also delighted at the news from Mayer's on-screen cuz and longtime personal friend through the years of "The Dukes" and beyond, Byron ("Coy Duke") Cherry. He has spoken to Mopar Magazine, and the publication plans to do a tribute issue for Chris. It's scheduled for a September release, and Byron is gathering information for it right now.
Fans have also set up a tribute page on Facebook.
Byron called BRBTV today to chat a bit about the whole thing, and he suggested we share some of those thoughts here. Fans are (naturally) wondering how Chris died. It's uncertain, though some sources have indicated natural causes. He was found in his bed, Byron says, adding that he and his wife Krista received a call after Chris had been found, to let them know the news. Chris' fiancee Catherine, who was rushing home from an out-of-town TV commercial shoot, also called Byron about the news.
Byron was fortunate enough to have seen Chris in those final days, as the two had been close for many years. Byron tells us, for instance, that when his son Byron Jr. was killed in a car crash and he was devastated with grief, it was Chris that he called. Chris was brimming with encouragement -- and verses from Scripture. Now, based on our own chat with him a few weeks back, we can just picture that!
Most of all, Byron wants fans to know that what was important about Chris was his life, not his death. For instance ...
These are just some of the wonderful thoughts we've seen expressed, many of them responses to Byron's Facebook posting this week:
so sorry to hear of his passing, my prayers are with his family. I remember seeing u and him in Florida years ago at the Grand Opening of TOYS R ' US in West Palm Beach when i was a young girl, I still have the autograph pictures of u and Chris.
I am so sorry, he was so wonderful!! We cried over the passing of our beloved pastor, he hugged me when I cried after my kitty died. Chris, hug Pastor Scott for me. You were a true gem!
Yes indeed, Vance Duke always put a smile on everyone's face...
"ARTISTS NEVER DIE" CHRISTOPHER MAYER 1954 - FOR EVER
So sad to hear this....RIP Chris Mayer aka Vance Duke.....you will truly be missed by all
i am so sorry to hear of chris's passing! my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to u. so sad. he will be missed!
I'm so sad to hear this, too, Byron. I remember the first time I met Chris... with you at the Atlanta Airport, and "B" was about 2 yrs old, holding his General Lee toy car! My heart is hurting with and for you now. Love to you and yours ~
i'm sorry 2 here that bryon, chris was an awesome actor. love the dukes of hazzard and if it wasn't for the dukes the fans would never what a great guy he was. just remember he is in heaven with our savior now.walking and holding hands with jesus. and say dont u worry bryon we will b together soon.
we all miss him & thanks to all the dukes fans for sharing his memories
So sorry - RIP Chris - a wonderful man - my thoughts and prayers to you and his family. I will light a candle at church for him - from all us Duke fans in the UK
I will miss him too. He and you were my favorite actors from the Dukes of Hazzard I have nothing but respect for ya,
RIP Christopher Mayer. We will miss you.
RIP Christopher Mayer. We will miss you.
Byron, I just heard about Christopher today. It was a shock. My deepest sympathies to you, his family, friends, and all of his fans. Loved you both on the Dukes. Hate I never had the pleasure of meeting him. Seeing how highly you speak of him, he seemes like an awesome Guy and a great friend to you. Wonderful news about the magazine, can't wait to see it. It will be a great way to honor him.
I am in shock. I was just complaining the other day that CMT doesn't air the episodes with Coy and Vance anymore, they did the first time they started airing the Dukes again, but now for the second time they have skipped that whole season. Thanks for letting us know. So sad. :(
My heart is breaking. I am so glad I got to spend time with him this year. Even though it's not a shock, I am in shock. RIP Chris.
I cannot believe this only met him a few times & each time he was so kind-RIP my friend
I'm in shock! I'm so sad. Chris was a great actor and will be missed.
just devistating... but at least he got to feel the fans love for the last few months, and got to know he was appreciated.
This is sadening news, To his Fiance Catherine and the rest of Chris's family my condolences, was lucky to meet him a coule times, he was a great guy, and will be truly missed by so many
prayers go out to his family and fiancee
Christopher Mayer, left, with his fiancee Catherine Irvine, and his "Dukes" costar Byron Cherry and his wife Krista, at the Johnny Cash Music Festival in Ventura, California, just last month.
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Dubuque of Angel Hawk Productions; please do not copy without permission