Singer and rapper Aaron Carter, younger brother of the Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter, has passed away at age 34.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson has said police were investigating the suspicious death at Carter’s home in Lancaster, California. His fiancee, Melanie Martin, has asked for privacy while the family grieves.
“We are still in the process of accepting this unfortunate reality,” says Martin. “Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.”
The Florida native had his first hit when he was nine years old, a cover of The Jets’ 80s hit, “Crush On You.” He went on tour with his older brother Nick Carter’s band, the Backstreet Boys, and released four studio albums during his music career.
His 2000 album, Aaron’s Party (Come Get It), sold 3 million copies, producing hit singles including the title song and “I Want Candy.” Carter’s videos received regular airplay on Disney and Nickelodeon. More recently, he appeared on Dancing with the Stars.
“My heart is broken,” Nick Carter said in an Instagram post in which he blamed “addiction and mental illness” for his brother’s death. “Even though my brother and I have had a complicated relationship, my love for him has never ever faded.”
“Sometimes we want to blame someone or something for a loss, but the truth is that addiction and mental illness is the real villain here,” Nick’s post continued. “I will miss my brother more than anyone will ever know.”
“We are shocked and saddened about the sudden passing of Aaron Carter,” New Kids on the Block, the boy band that inspired later groups, including Backstreet Boys, posted on Twitter. “Sending prayers to the Carter family.”
Carter had battled addiction and mental illness throughout his life. He was arrested multiple times on drug-related charges and was known to air family feuds on social media, once having accused his siblings of sexually abusing him.