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Wil Wheaton on River Phoenix Death: I Thought ‘Please Don’t Let This Be True’ (Video)

Actor opens up to Larry King about his reaction when his ”Stand by Me“ co-star died at 23 of a drug overdose

River Phoenix‘s death in 1993 shocked Hollywood — and his “Stand by Me” co-star Wil Wheaton remains haunted by it to this day.

“Please don’t let this be true,” Wheaton told Larry King he said when he first heard about the actor’s fatal drug overdose at age 23.

“I’m like an unreliable narrator about him because I’m remembering a teenager as a teenager and what I clearly remember about him is that he was this raw emotional open wound all the time,” Wheaton said. “He felt everything. And it’s what made him such a wonderful, wonderful actor.”

Also read: River Phoenix’s Final Moments Revealed in New Book: ‘I Think I’m OD’ing’

“You didn’t keep in touch closely?” King asked Wheaton.

“We drifted apart, it was like right around the time I was like 15, 16 — River was two years older than me, he was clearly in a lot of pain,” he said.

Also read: Wil Wheaton to Host ‘Talk Soup for Geeks’ Style Show on Syfy

“Were you shocked what happened to him or not?” King asked.

“I wasn’t shocked, I was … I’m trying to come up with the exact word,” Wheaton said. “It wasn’t shocking; it was, ‘please don’t let this be true.'”

Watch the video: