Leonardo DiCaprio and Darlene Cates
Ron Galella, Ltd.—WireImage
By Raisa Bruner
March 29, 2017

At just 19, a young Leonardo DiCaprio costarred with fellow actor Johnny Depp in the critically acclaimed movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, playing the developmentally challenged son of Darlene Cates. On Tuesday, DiCaprio shared a tribute to his on-screen mom. Cates passed away in her sleep over the weekend at age 69, PEOPLE reports.

“Darlene was the best acting mom I ever had the privilege of working alongside,” DiCaprio wrote of Cates. “Her endearing personality and incredible talent will live on in the memories of those who knew her, and those who loved her work. My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time,” DiCaprio added in his post.

His appearance on What’s Eating Gilbert Grape would launch DiCaprio’s career into the realm of serious acting, garnering him his first Oscar nomination. (Of course, it wasn’t until 2016 that he finally won the coveted prize for his performance in The Revenant.) Before Grape, he had popped up on sitcoms like Growing Pains and Parenthood. His onscreen dad for Growing Pains, Alan Thicke, also recently passed away; DiCaprio honored him with a thoughtful tribute on Facebook as well.

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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