Fans and entertainers continue to mourn singer, rapper and former teen heartthrob Aaron Carter, who has died at age 34.
Carter, who struggled with addiction and other issues, was found dead Saturday morning at his home in Lancaster.
Actress Hilary Duff, the former star of Disney’s popular “Lizzie McGuire” where Carter appeared in the 2001 episode “Aaron Carter’s Coming to Town” shared her remembrance on Instagram.
“For Aaron-I’m deeply sorry that life was so hard for you and that you had to struggle in front of the whole world,” she wrote. “You had a charm that was absolutely effervescent … boy did my teenage self love you deeply. Sending love to your family at this time. Rest easy.”
Many noted that Carter was Justin Bieber, before Bieber became a teen idol in 2009.
“Before Justin Bieber, there was Aaron Carter … who had all the 90s girls in a chokehold. RIP,” one fan tweeted
“Rip Aaron Carter,” fan Blake Smith wrote on Twitter. “He walked so Justin Bieber could run.”
Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched Saturday to a home in the area of Valley Vista Drive and Avenue L-6 regarding a drowning, according to a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher. A watch commander at the sheriff’s Lancaster station told City News Service deputies were dispatched at 10:58 a.m. to a home on the 42000 block of Valley Vista Drive.
“We went there for a person not breathing and he was pronounced dead,” the watch commander said.
A house sitter discovered the unresponsive man in a bathtub and called 911, sheriff’s Lt. Daniel Vizcarra told City News Service.
The victim was first identified as Carter by the entertainment website TMZ, which reported he apparently drowned in a bathtub. His death was later confirmed by Carter’s management company.
“We are shocked and utterly heartbroken to learn that Aaron has left us today,” his manager, Roger Paul, said in a statement provided to CNS. “Aaron is someone who we’ve cultivated a close relationship to over the last decade. He was adventurous and impulsive — many know about his recent wild ways. But what a lot of people didn’t know about Aaron is that he was as tenderhearted as they come. He was courteous. He genuinely cared for others, and the love he felt for those around him was immeasurable; so much so, that we believe it’s safe to say it’s transcending timelines.
“We can still feel his presence and warmth around us,” the statement continued. “Aaron knew sometimes he didn’t make the greatest decisions, but he suffered the consequences of that. He let himself be submerged in guilt, but he continued to venture on, trying to make things right and trying to make amends. Aaron Carter truly loved life. He was free-spirited and sought all the pleasures and pleasantries this world has to offer. Because of this attitude and approach to living, he was able to give so freely and energetically when it came to his music and his acting. We are sad to have to let him go, and we’ll miss him tremendously.”
Video from the scene showed police tape around a two-story home with a “for sale” sign and RV in front. A woman can be seen crying while seated on a low wall in front of the home as a man consoles her.
Born in Tampa, Florida, Carter sold a million copies of his self- titled debut album in 1997 at age 9, which featured the hit single “Crush on You.” His September 2000 follow-up “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” sold three times that amount in the United States alone and was certified triple-Platinum. In addition to the title track, it also featured the hits “I Want Candy,” and “That’s How I Beat Shaq.”
His third album, “Oh Aaron”, went platinum in 2001, and Carter had released two since then, most recently “Love” in 2018.
During the next several years he and guest starred on such shows as “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “7th Heaven” and had roles in the films “Fat Albert” in 2004 and “Supercross” in 2005. Carter and his four siblings also starred in a short-lived reality show, “House of Carters” in 2006.
He made his Broadway debut in 2001 as JoJo the Who in “Seussical the Musical” and also appeared in the off-Broadway production of “The Fantasticks.”
“This kid had such a spark,” singer and “One Tree Hill” star Tyler Hilton noted on social media. “Known him for years and always really liked him, he was warm and really funny. Loved putting on a show and he was good at it.”
Carter also appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and headlined a world tour in late 2014.
He was the younger brother of the Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter, and opened for the famous boy band in the late 1990s as well as for Britney Spears during her “Oops! … I Did It Again Tour.”
Recent years saw him in the news for myriad legal, drug and relationship troubles as well as his estrangement from brother Nick and other relatives.
During a 2019 TV interview, Carter discussed his battles with mental health issues, saying he suffered from multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety and manic depression.
In September, the Los Angeles Times reported Carter had enrolled in rehab for a fifth time and was hoping to regain custody of his 10-month-old son, Prince, who was under the court-ordered care of his fiancÃ©e’s mother.
“It’s all a beautiful blessing because I’ve had a lot of relationships and I started [to] kind of [give] up on love,” he told Us Weekly in 2021, referring the birth of his first child. “I was talking about having a family years ago. I [wanted] to be at home and enjoy the love of my life and my child. Now that it’s here, it’s like an epiphany. Every minute now has become so precious and every bit of time that slips by now … I’ve [really] switched my gears of thinking. I’ve given a lot of people second and third chances, as you can see with us and the stuff that we’ve gone through.”
In recent months friends said Carter was actively working to turn his life around.
Carter tweeted on Oct. 29 that he was selling his Lancaster house, linking to a listing for $799,900 on Zillow. The two-story home has seven bedrooms and four bathrooms.
“Selling my 2nd home. Real estate has been super good to me,” Carter tweeted. “Ready for a new chapter in my 3rd home, which I plan on staying to make a beautiful life for my family. This year has been super tough but I’ve learned so much. Thanks for the support everyone.”
TMZ, citing law enforcement sources, reported Carter was pulled over by police on Nov. 1 for allegedly driving an RV erratically but was later let go after he passed a field sobriety test.
“Fame at a young age is often more a curse than a blessing and Surviving it is not easy,” songwriter Diane Warren tweeted. “RIP Aaron Carter.”
In addition to his brother and son, Carter is survived by his mother, Jane, and two sisters, his twin, Angel, and B.J.