Nick Carter paid tribute Sunday to his younger brother, Aaron Carter, who was found dead at his Lancaster home on Saturday. The singer, rapper and sibling of Backstreet Boys vocalist Nick Carter was 34.
On Instagram, Nick Carter shared a series of photos from his childhood with Aaron Carter. In the pictures, the brothers can be seen walking arm-in-arm through the woods, enjoying a family boat ride, sharing some hugs and smiling at the beach.
“My heart is broken,” Nick Carter captioned the post. “Even though my brother and I have had a complicated relationship, my love for him has never ever faded. I have always held on to the hope that he would somehow, someday want to walk a healthy path and eventually find the help that he so desperately needed.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday that authorities were investigating the circumstances surrounding Aaron Carter’s death after receiving a call from a house sitter who found him unresponsive in a bathtub.
Following in his pop-star brother’s footsteps, Aaron Carter began recording and releasing music at just 9 years old. In the late 1990s, he dropped his eponymous debut album and opened for the Backstreet Boys on tour. His early hits included “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It),” “Crazy Little Party Girl,” “I Want Candy” and “That’s How I Beat Shaq.”
Over the years, Nick and Aaron Carter made a number of public appearances together onstage and at Hollywood events. Their sibling dynamic was also explored on the short-lived reality TV series, “House of Carters,” which premiered in 2006 on E!
The “complicated relationship” among the Carter siblings emerged publicly in 2019, when Nick Carter and sister Angel Carter filed a restraining order against their brother. The brothers subsequently traded a series of allegations, with Aaron Carter accusing Nick Carter of bullying him his “whole life” and raping a woman and Nick Carter claiming that Aaron Carter admitted to having “thoughts and intentions of killing” Nick Carter’s pregnant wife. Both denied the allegations.
Though Aaron Carter insisted he was two years sober when the restraining order was filed, he had been open in the past about his struggles with substance use, as well as various mental health conditions — including personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety and manic depression. He repeatedly checked into rehab in an effort to stay sober, up until September of this year.
“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 Carter wrote in his farewell to Aaron.
“I will miss my brother more than anyone will ever know. I love you Chizz. Now you can finally have the peace you could never find here on earth…. I love you baby brother.”
Times staffers August Brown, Christie D’Zurilla, Ian James and Richard Winton contributed to this report.