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Troubled former child star Aaron Carter, who soared to fame as a solo artist on the heels of his older brother Nick Carter's success with the Backstreet Boys, has died at the age of 34, a representative for the singer has confirmed to Yahoo. A statement from his family and management will be released shortly.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department confirms to Yahoo that deputies responded to Carter’s home in Lancaster, Calif. on Saturday shortly after 11 a.m. Upon arrival, officers found a deceased body. Homicide is handling the investigation, which is standard procedure at this time.
TMZ broke the news, citing sources who claim the singer drowned.
As the boy band dominated the charts in the mid-'90s, the adorable Aaron, who was still in the single digits age-wise, became the lead singer of his own group, the Dead End, at 7. However, he quickly struck out on his own at age 9, releasing a self-titled album in 1997. The same year, he made his first solo appearance opening for the Backstreet Boys in Berlin, covering The Jets song "Crush on You."
With a focus on pop and rap, his second album 2000's Aaron's Party (Come Get It), sold over three million copies, his best-selling. It included the title track as well as "That's How I Beat Shaq" and "Bounce." Two more albums — 2001's Oh Aaron, with his "I Want Candy" cover and Nick collaboration "Not Too Young, Not Too Old," and 2002's Another Earthquake! — quickly followed but didn't sell as well. The latter was his last studio album — there were compilations in between — until 2018's Love, a 16-year album drought.
As a child star, he was befriended by Michael Jackson, appearing on the King of Pop's charity effort, "What More Can I Give," a "We Are the World" sequel. Aaron remained a Jackson defender after the star died and child abuse accusations resurfaced.
During the gap between albums, Aaron focused on TV. Having already made cameos on Lizzie McGuire (eventually leading to a teen romance with star Hilary Duff) and All That, he then starred in episodes of 7th Heaven and appeared on 2006's House of Carters, a reality show centered around his famous family, including siblings Nick, B.J., Leslie and Aaron's twin sister Angel. On the show, he had a fistfight with his brother Nick. The reality series — an easy target — was parodied on Saturday Night Live with Andy Samberg portraying Aaron.
Aaron later appeared in 2014's I Heart Nick Carter and competed in Dancing With the Stars in 2009, finishing in fifth place. A 2005 film he starred in, Popstar, went straight to video, and he had a brief run in Broadway's Seussical.
However, Aaron was plagued by personal problems in the long gap between his albums. His parents, Jane and Robert Carter, sued his former manager, the disgraced and now deceased Lou Pearlman, in 2002 for failing to pay Aaron royalties. One year later, Aaron alleged that his momager Jane took more than $100,000 from his bank account without permission. And a decade later, in 2013, he filed for bankruptcy protection to shed more than $3.5 million in debt, resolving it the following year.
But it was far more than money woes. At just 15, photos of Aaron getting high on marijuana appeared in National Enquirer. He was later arrested twice — first in 2008 on marijuana charges and then in 2017 for DUI and marijuana possession.
He did multiple stints in rehab, including once in 2011 and twice in 2017. He later admitted addictions to Xanax, Oxycodone and huffing. He also struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, weighing just 115 pounds in 2017.
Aaron revealed on The Doctors in 2017 that he had extensive mental health issues and had been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and acute anxiety.
Aaron's family problems escalated later in his life. He and Nick both fired their mother over money woes, his sister Leslie died of an overdose in 2012 and his father died unexpected in 2017. However, his erratic behavior — and arsenal of guns — led to his siblings Nick and Angel taking out restraining orders against him in September, citing his "increasing alarming behavior." Aaron retaliated by taking to social media to brand his brother a "serial rapist."
Aaron's erratic behavior continued amid his sibling dispute when he debuted a large face tattoo soon after. He was hospitalized for exhaustion. He appeared irate and unstable after a court appearance. He also rehired his mother as his manager, despite the alleged theft years earlier.
The most disturbing part is that it all played out on social media. He posted non-stop on Twitter and Instagram, peddling various conspiracy theories about people being out to get him or attacking Nick. By that point, sadly, his music was overshadowed by his personal woes, making for a very sad end to his story.
A heartthrob from his early days of stardom, Carter found himself entangled in a teen love triangle with fellow child stars Duff and Lindsay Lohan, dating both of them at the same time in the early aughts. He carried a torch for Duff for more than a decade, declaring his love for her on social media in 2011. At 18, he had a brief engagement to Playboy model Kari Ann Peniche, which they called off after six days. At 22, he was engaged to Maile Hochuli, but that didn’t last either. He also had well-publicized and failed relationships with Kaci Brown, Madison Parker and Lina Valentina.
Aaron came out as bisexual in 2017 while dating Parker revealing he had a sexual experience with a male at age 17. However, he clarified that he wanted to marry and have a family with a woman.
In 2021 Aaron announced his engagement to Melanie Martin, but the couple split just just days after welcoming their baby, son Prince Lyric Carter, on Nov. 22, 2021.
This past September Aaron revealed that he and Martin had lost custody of then-9-month-old son amid concerns about drug abuse and allegations of domestic abuse. At the time, the new dad shared that he'd voluntarily entered a rehabilitation program, for the fifth time, with the intention of regaining custody of his son.
"It's an abstinence program and I work with an individual counselor," he told the Sun. "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."