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Luke Perry’s Favorite Role Was Being a Loving Dad to His Kids

"As soon as he became a dad, that was it."

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Luke Perry, who passed away from a stroke on Monday at the age of 52, played a lot of important roles in his career as an actor, from Beverly Hills, 90210 to Riverdale. But his favorite was that of being a father, according to Perry’s friends and family.

In an interview with PEOPLE, some of the late actor’s loved ones, including Perry’s 90210 costar Shannon Doherty, shared their memories of the devoted dad, who had son Jack, 21, and daughter Sophie, 18, with ex-wife Minnie Sharp.

“Luke loved his family,” Doherty said. “He raved about his kids and how proud he was of them. He showed me videos of them often. They were his heart and for him, his biggest accomplishment.”

Echoing Doherty’s sentiment, an unnamed source told PEOPLE that Perry cared much more about family than fame. “He was very protective of his family. As soon as he became a dad, that was it. It didn’t matter that he was a huge star on Beverly Hills, 90210, or what came after. He always knew what was important.”

Another source said the Perry was “a super great, very hands-on dad,” adding that “he was always attending his kids’ school and after-school functions when they were younger. He loved just hanging out with them and being present.”

And the love that Perry had for his kids was mutual, according to social media. Both Jack and Sophie posted touching tributes to their late father on Instagram this week.

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“He loved and supported me in everything, and inspired me to be the best that I could possibly be,” Jack wrote. Then, speaking directly to Perry, he said, “I’ll miss you every day that I walk this earth. I’ll do whatever I can to carry on your legacy and make you proud. I love you Dad.”