Jason Priestley just broke his silence on the passing ofLuke Perry... with a touching tribute to his late friend and former costar.

The "Beverly Hills, 90210" star penned an emotional tribute on Instagram Thursday ... saying Luke was taken from this world far too soon. He wrote, "It's taken me a couple of days to figure out how to write this ... My dear friend of 29 years, Luke Perry, was one of those truly special people who really cared."

He added, "Luke was not only a star, he was an incredibly bright light that was extinguished far too soon... and that is why I, and so many others, are in so much pain today... if you had the good fortune to know Luke, or to have ever crossed his path, I know you are sad today as well."

Jason's thoughtful tribute came a few days after Luke diedfrom a massive strokehe'd suffered 5 days earlier. Their characters -- Brandon Walsh and Dylan McKay -- were close friends on the '90s teen drama, and that friendship continued offscreen.

Jason's tribute comes on the heels of "Riverdale" also honoring Luke after resuming production. Wednesday night's episode -- the first to air since Luke's passing -- closed with an "In Memoriam" tribute.

As you know ... "Riverdale" has dedicated the rest of the show to Luke, who played Archie's dad on the hit CW series. The show's executive producer referred to Luke as "Our heart, always."

Jason echoed that sentiment ... "The candle that burns twice as bright only burns for half as long.... you burned oh, so brightly Luke... Goodnight Sweet Prince."

John Elliott

John Elliott

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