Sam Gannon appeared in hit ITV soap Emmerdale in January 2019.
The 31-year-old former Brayton High School student, who grew up in Brayton, near Selby, had been staying with family in Willows, California.
He died suddenly on Tuesday. The full circumstances are still being investigated by police, but his death is not being treated as suspicious.
Now Sam's devastated family has launched a crowdfunding plea to help raise £17,000 needed to repatriate his body back to the UK.
His sister Amy Kelly, 34, who lives in Howden, said ‘’Sam was a whirlwind, a unique character to say the least. He genuinely cared for others and was a very sensitive soul. It is clear from the tributes we have received that he touched the hearts of so many.’’
His heartbroken friend Lewis Matthews added: "Sam was a ‘real life Duracell bunny' with a seemingly endless supply of energy and love. He delighted audiences with his charm, wit and his wonderful musical abilities."
Sam had a passion for acting and received his big break in 2019 when he was cast as a horse drawn carriage coachman in Emmerdale. He played ‘Kev’ and featured in scenes alongside Charity Dingle during a short stint.
He also appeared in a short film titled ‘Talking with Angels’ with TV star John Thomson.
The majority of Sam’s work was with regional theatre groups on successful tours of the country, regularly appearing with Gobbledigook Theatre and The Northumberland Theatre Company.
Amy said any extra funds raised during the appeal would be donated to a UK charity supporting youth theatre.
"Acting and theatre was a cause close to Sam's heart," the mum-of-two added.
Tributes have also poured in via Sam's Crowdfunding page.
Claire and David Hakin said: "The very best of men, always with a smile and a joke. Ready to help anyone, always kind and entertaining."
Indigo Camryn added: "Sam. I wish you were here so I could tell you how amazing you were, how much you made me laugh and how much I miss you already."
Sam also leaves mum Angie, brothers Jason and Jordan, partner and 'love of his life' Zoe, nieces Matilda and Bethany, and nephews Louis and Evan.
Here is how you can donate to Sam's appeal.