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Shannen Doherty Wipes Away Tears Remembering Luke Perry at MegaCon: ‘I Thought I’d Be the First to Go’

Doherty and fellow ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ costar Jason Priestley reflected on their late castmate’s impact during a panel at the Orlando event

<p>Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty</p> Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry at the Emmys in 1991

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry at the Emmys in 1991

Nearly five years after Luke Perry’s sudden death, the late actor’s 90210 castmates still feel a “hole” in their lives without him.

Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestley reminisced about Perry — who died at age 52 in March 2019 following a stroke — during a Beverly Hills, 90210 panel at MegaCon Orlando on Saturday.

Doherty, 52, became visibly emotional onstage when Priestley, 54, mentioned Perry. Upon hearing his name, the Charmed actress immediately teared up, at first wiping away tears with her left hand before leaving her seat to grab a tissue to wipe away more tears.

“It was shocking,” said Doherty, whose 90210 character, Brenda, shared a romance with Dylan, played by Perry. “I have a very visceral reaction whenever someone brings up Luke because as someone with cancer — and a really horrible cancer at stage 4 — I thought I would be the first to go. So when it was Luke, it really just sent me for a tailspin.”

<p>Jen Juneau/PEOPLE</p> Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestley on Feb. 3.

Jen Juneau/PEOPLE

Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestley on Feb. 3.

Doherty revealed to PEOPLE in 2015 that she had breast cancer, which went into remission in 2017 but returned in 2019 at stage 4. In a 2023 PEOPLE cover story, Doherty said the cancer had spread to her bones.

Onstage at MegaCon, Doherty explained that she and Perry were close while filming the ’90s teen drama but admitted “there were moments where we were not so close” in the years after the show ended in 2000.

Related: Brian Austin Green Recalls Texting Luke Perry a Day After He Died Because He Couldn't Accept the Loss (Exclusive)

“But later we became extremely close,” she added. “So to lose him as our relationship was just sort of flourishing as friends, and our respect and admiration for each other was coming to its fullest potential … it was just very hard.”

After Perry’s death, Doherty appeared on Riverdale, which Perry starred in as Archie’s father Fred, to pay tribute to him during season 4 in 2019.

In the episode, Fred was struck by a car and dies after pulling over to help a mystery woman fix her flat tire. Doherty’s character later tells Fred’s son that she was that woman and that Fred died a hero after he pushed her out of the way of the car.

Related: Riverdale's Cole Sprouse, Camila Mendes and More Remember Luke Perry's 'Passionate' Presence: 'An Oracle'

“I think it continues to be hard for all of us, and when we do cons or any signings and it’s all of us there, Luke’s presence is missed,” she said at MegaCon. “There’s a hole, for sure.”

<p>Gerardo Mora/Getty</p> Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestley at MegaCon Orlando.

Gerardo Mora/Getty

Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestley at MegaCon Orlando.

Meanwhile, Priestley reflected on Perry’s impact on the 90120 cast.

“Luke was a huge part of our show,” he said. “He was a total joker. He would come to work, and always break the tension, and make everybody laugh. But then he was also incredibly professional, and always there, and always committed to what he was doing.”

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Priestley went on to call Perry a “big-hearted guy” with a special relationship with each of his costars.

Related: Remembering Luke Perry's Life in Photos

“We were all close as a group, but Luke was close with everybody within the group,” Priestley recalled. “He was incredibly kind and considerate and a lot of things that I think when people think about TV stars or movie stars or heartthrobs wouldn’t pair those two up.”

“He was beautiful,” he concluded. ”We all miss him very much, to this day.”

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