Sad news has hit hard with the passing of Jansen Panettiere, the star of the 2015 indie film The Martial Arts Kid.

Panettiere, the younger brother of Nashville and Scream VI actor Hayden Panettiere, passed away over this past weekend at the age of 28. While details are not known, what is known is that after following in his sister’s footsteps in the acting industry, he decided to forge a new path and become an artist in New York City under the name RANE.

Jansen first appeared in television work for Disney Channel and had done plenty of voiceover work in animated films. He had done some work alongside his sister, notably Tiger Cruise, The Forger, and Racing Stripes.

In 2015, he beat out a few hundred applicants to take the lead role in The Martial Arts Kid, an indie film in which Jansen played Robbie Oakes, a troubled teen who is taken in by his aunt and uncle who learns martial arts from the duo after being bullied. The film may be envisioned as a Karate Kid-ripoff, but actually has a storyline about the power of martial arts changing oneself in a positive way. The film co-stars martial arts legends Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock as his uncle and aunt who become his martial arts mentors. While not having a martial arts background, Jansen’s expertise in gymnastics and ability to have such an emotional range earned him the role and he does well in his fight scenes with help from the film’s fight choreographer, martial arts legend James Lew.

The film co-stars two actors who have gotten big since as well, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s Kathryn Newton as the love interest and Euphoria‘s Sydney Sweeney as Julia, one of Uncle Glen and Aunt Cindy’s martial arts students. The film also stars Chuck Zito and TJ Storm.

After the film, he took some time off to forge a new path as an artist but had roles in the sequel How High 2, the AMC hit series The Walking Dead, and his last film role in Love and Love Not.

Panettiere is survived by his sister Hayden and their parents, Lesley R. Vogel and Skip Panettiere.

If you want to see Jansen in The Martial Arts Kid, the film is currently streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi and those who love a movie with a message and have a love for the throwback era of 80’s and 90’s American martial arts movies will want to see this.

WorldFilmGeek sends its condolences to the family of Jansen Panettiere. Here’s the trailer to The Martial Arts Kid

Godspeed, Jansen Panettiere, the “Martial Arts Kid”.