'Eight Is Enough' star Willie Aames pays tribute to 'lifelong friend' and 'only little brother' Adam Rich

Willie Aames and Adam Rich star in a 1977 episode of
Willie Aames and Adam Rich star in a 1977 episode of Eight Is Enough. (Photo: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Actors Willie Aames and Adam Rich played brothers for five seasons on the ABC dramedy Eight Is Enough, from 1977 to 1981. So Rich's death Saturday, at the age of 54, hit Aames particularly hard.

"This morning Winnie woke me with the heartbreaking news of Adam Rich's passing. I'm gutted," he wrote Sunday on social media. "Adam was more than a colleague. He was very much my only little brother. A lifelong friend. These last few years Adam had dreams of renewing his career. He was one of those kid actors that our generation will always remember. I can't tell you how many parents have told me they named their first child 'Nicolas' after his Eight Is Enough character. The diminishing fraternity of kids that grew up in the golden years of family television has lost another of our own. I will miss him deeply. Rest 'A.R.' - You were the cutest TV kid of them all."

In addition to the more than 100 episodes of Eight Is Enough that they did together, Rich and Aames, 62, both appeared in a couple of the show's reunions, including the 1989 TV movie An Eight Is Enough Wedding. In the '80s Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, which aired from 1983 to 1985, Rich voiced Presto the Magician, while Aames provided the words for Hank the Ranger. They played themselves in the star-studded recording of the parody song "Child Stars on Your Television" in the 2003 movie Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.

Rich's cause of death has not been disclosed. According to reports, no foul play is suspected.

Another former co-star of Rich's, Betty Buckley, who played the brothers' step-mom, also noted that she will "miss him greatly." She described Rich as "a light and my young pal for the four seasons I was blessed to work with him on Eight Is Enough."

"I adored him and loved working with him in our scenes together on the show," she continued. "He was so sweet, funny, fresh and natural. He brought a lot of joy to all of us on the show and to our audiences. Adam and I have remained friends all of these years. His love and support have always meant a lot to me."