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Aaron Carter’s neighbors heard chilling screams when he was found unresponsive on November 5, 2022. Though details are yet to officially be released, friends have their thoughts on how Aaron Carter died and believe his cause of death could have been due to an accidental drug overdose, considering his checkered history with substance abuse.
The troubled pop star was discovered in his bathtub by his housekeeper at around 11 a.m. on Saturday. Neighbors told The Sun US they heard her screaming “he’s dead, he’s dead” before homicide investigators were dispatched—standard procedure for deaths under similar circumstances, though there was no evidence of foul play. Sources close to Carter told the news outlet they did not this his death was a suicide, as he had plans to go into the studio to record music the following week. So how did Aaron Carter die and what caused his death? Here’s everything we know.
How did Aaron Carter die?
How did Aaron Carter die? The official cause of Aaron Carter’s death has yet to be released, but as reported by The Sun US, friends suspect the rapper’s battle with substance abuse had relapsed. We won’t know for sure until the toxicology results come back and that could take months. “It is with great regret that I confirm Aaron Carter was found unresponsive this morning in his home in Palmdale, California,” a rep told the UK-based tabloid. “The family has been notified and will be flying out to Los Angeles. Aaron worked very hard towards the end of his life in recovery, to be a good father and to make amends with his family. Unfortunately, without proper recovery facilities available in our country and open borders, this is why we have an epidemic.”
In an interview with Page Six, Carter’s manager described his physical state in the days leading up to his death. “He looked thin. He was extremely tired,” Taylor Helgeson told the tabloid. “He just looked like he needed to be doing anything but working. He looked like he needed someone to be taking care of him.” Helgeson, who had been working with the troubled pop star for eight months, noted his physical appearance in the days leading up to his death. “He didn’t seem okay,” Helgeson said before explaining, “Now, when I say that, I think it’s really important to kind of context that. He didn’t seem okay physically … [but] mentally, he was the most excited I’ve seen him in months. He was very intelligent and he was very conscious of what people wanted to see from him.”
Helgeson added that her client seemed excited for the future, believing his death was accidental and not suicide. “He was a guy with a lot of plans,” the manager says. “We had so much stuff going on and, you know, Aaron was a really prideful guy in his own right, too. That’s not his style… We were proposing [what] would have been … three months in Utah just on detoxing and kind of formulating new physical habits within your body,” his manager said. “[Carter] was saying, ‘I’m going to get my kid back and then I’m going to do this,’ and I was saying, ‘If you do this, I’m definitely going to get you your kid back,’ and that was the disagreement.”
A source close to Carter’s on-and-off fiancé, Melanie Martin, said Carter had missed a rehab session that he was scheduled to attend the night before he passed. TMZ reported he had stopped the program briefly but was reinstated a week before. When he didn’t show, the facility called Martin and she confirmed the tragic news. Police found multiple compressed air canisters at the scene where Carter’s body was found, according to the gossip outlet. His housekeeper, who made the grisly discovery on Saturday morning, had answered the door at 2am on Friday night from cops doing a welfare check, which was the last time Carter was seen alive.
A source vehemently opposed the idea that Carter wanted to end his life, telling The Sun. “Aaron did not commit suicide. He was planning to work on music in the next week with some artists from out of town. “He was locking down [the] studio, planning travel logistics, and seemed very excited,” a source said. “Any suggestion he was suicidal last night when he was in contact with his friends and team is wrong.” As obtained by TMZ, his death certificate revealed has been cremated, though his cause of death is still noted as “deferred” as further tests are needed to determine his exact cause of death. On November 29, 2022, it was reported by TMZ that part of Carter’s ashes would be scattered in the Florida Keys with his late sister Leslie’s. His mom Jane told the tabloid they were saving a part of Carter and his sister’s ashes for when Jane passes so they can be spread and laid to rest together.
What were Aaron Carter’s last words?
On December 7, 2022, Aaron’s twin sister Angel shared words to honor her departed brother on their 35th birthday. She described how just days before he passed, she “begged” him to get help for substance abuse. “It feels unfair… I feel too young to carry the weight of losing two of my siblings. When we lost Leslie, I was blindsided and shocked,” she wrote on Instagram, speaking of her other sibling who died after a prescription drug overdose at the age of 25.
“With Aaron, however, we had tried everything. In fact, I spoke with him two days before he passed, and I begged, once again, for him to let us help. I did not know that would be the last time that I would ever hear his voice. And now, I sit here on our birthday, trying to navigate this unimaginable loss because of untreated mental illness and the addiction that it led to.” She continued, “Aaron dying was the worst day of my life. I have loved him since we were born… it feels like a piece of my soul is gone. And yet, despite all this pain, his passing has lit a fire within me. I feel a calling and responsibility to help other families and continue the conversation to further break the stigmas that surround mental illness.”
According to a police report at the time, three drugs were found near Leslie’s body when it was discovered. Xanax, Olanzapine, used to treat schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and the muscle relaxant Cyclobenzaprine. At the time, Aaron was conscious that he’d “lost my sister to an accidental drug overdose so I would never do that. I would never overtake my medication.”
In his final interview, on September 14, 2022, Carter told The Sun he’d checked into a month-long outpatient program at the LA-based Lionrock Recovery to regain custody of his son, Prince. “The main reason why I enrolled into Lionrock Recovery outpatient is to help with the weed. I don’t want to smoke weed anymore. I don’t really need to,” he said. “It’s an abstinence program and I work with an individual counselor,” he continued, adding that one-on-one work wasn’t mandatory but that it was merely a suggestion by the court. “I do group therapy, parenting classes, domestic violence classes, I got myself certified in CPR, just a lot of different things. It’s new being a parent but it’s actually become really fun and exciting and given me a new chapter of my life. It’s been amazing.”
In the same interview, Carter refuted claims he was abusing Xanax, as had been rumored, the powerful prescription drug Benzodiazepine, which is used to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia. In a 2019 episode of The Doctors, Carter revealed he was on a long list of prescription drugs for mental illness. During the show, he tested positive for “marijuana, extended opiates, hydrocodone as an example, and benzodiazepine,” the last of which is used to treat multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia and acute anxiety. “There [have] been many times where, because I have insomnia, I’ll take my medication for sleep and then I’ll go on a live-stream, and I’ll get really sleepy. I should be going to sleep but sometimes I’ll stay up a little later than I should. I’ll be working on a project or something, there [have] been lots of different things, I think a lot of it is just kind of over-exaggerated. I do take Xanax. Xanax is a part of my regimented medication that I take from Aloe House that was prescribed to me in rehab, so I take a regimented medication, a series of medications which helps keep me clean from huffing dust.”
In the interview with The Sun, said he was never addicted to narcotics but to “huffing and dusting”, in which canned air is inhaled to bring on an immediate sense of euphoria, as well as hallucinations and delusions, according to the American Addiction Centers. It can also cause seizures. Though the effects of such substances are very temporary, lasting a few minutes, it is possible to overdose on them. “Many solvents and aerosol sprays are highly concentrated, meaning they contain a large amount of chemicals with a lot of active ingredients,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Sniffing these products can cause the heart to stop within minutes. This condition, known as sudden sniffing death, can happen to otherwise healthy young people the first time they use an inhalant.”
The news of Carter’s death comes after he temporarily lost custody of his 10-month-old son, Prince, amid allegations of domestic violence against Martin. In March, 2022, Martin accused Carter of breaking three of her ribs. According to court documents obtained by The Blast, she filed a restraining order against him after a nasty fight. “We had a fight about me talking to another man while we were broken up. He punched me in the left rib and pushed me,” she recalled, according to the court documents. “I didn’t feel the pain until a few days later, then I left the house because he threatened to give me a restraining order… “I went to Kaiser, my doctor, and took X-rays.” She included the diagnosis, “3 broken ribs.”
In the hours after news broke of Carter’s death, tributes flowed from everyone he touched personally. His older brother, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, admitted that while their relationship as siblings was far from perfect, they were still family. “My heart has been broken today. Even though my brother and I have had a complicated relationship, my love for him has never ever faded. I have always held onto the hope, that he would somehow, someday want to walk a healthy path and eventually find the help that he so desperately needed,” he wrote on Instagram accompanying childhood photos of the pair together. “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. I will miss my brother more than anyone will ever know. I love you Chizz., now you get a chance to finally have some peace you could never find here on earth….God, Please take care of my baby brother.”
Carter’s fiancé Martin gave a statement to TMZ: “My fiancé Aaron Carter has passed away. I love Aaron with all my heart and it’s going to be a journey to raise a son without a father. Please respect the privacy of my family as we come to terms with the loss of someone we love greatly. We are still in the process of accepting this unfortunate reality. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.”
Hilary Duff, who starred with Carter in the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire, also shared a tribute to Carter on Instagram, saying, “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. 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.”
Carter came to fame in the mid to late 90s. He became a star at the tender age of nine with the release of his first self-titled album in 1997-98. “I wanted to be a singer since I was very, very little,” he once said in an interview when he was around 10 years old, according to Billboard. “The first thing I did is I asked my mom, and she said, ‘I’ll take you to lessons.’ So, she started taking me to lessons. I love this job to much, and I’m always going to be doing it, all my life.” He quickly became a teen heartthrob, making a guest appearance on Lizzie McGuire in 2001. “Aaron Carter coming here is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to us!” Duff says of Carter in the episode. “He’s cute, he’s cool, he’s talented.” She ends up meeting Aaron under the mistletoe, where he gives her a kiss. Carter released five studio albums, the last of which was Love in 2018.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, help is available. Call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free, confidential support.
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