Hilary Duff released a tribute to her ex-boyfriend Aaron Carter after news was released that he was found dead on Saturday at only 34-years-old. The former couple dated as teen stars for close to three years and he even appeared on her Disney Channel series, Lizzie McGuire.
In his later life, Carter struggled with addiction and mental health issues and eventually lost custody of his son, Prince, in early 2022. Duff wrote a note to Carter on her Instagram timeline, expressing deep sympathy for his struggles since their teen years.
“I’m deeply sorry that life was so hard for you and 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.”
She concluded by saying, “Sending love to [Carter’s] family at this time. Rest easy.”
Aaron’s brother, Nick Carter, also shared a message on social media Sunday, writing, “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.”
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department confirmed Carter’s death in his home in Lancaster, California. CBS News reports that Carter’s house sitter called police after finding his body.
“We are extremely saddened and shocked to confirm the passing of Aaron Carter today,” Carter’s manager Roger Paul said in a statement to the news channel. “At the moment his cause of death is being investigated. We ask that you give the family time and they will have more information when available. We cannot express the outpouring of love coming in.”
Carter and Duff were together from 2001 to about 2004, during which time he allegedly also started seeing Lindsay Lohan. Duff has since married twice, and remains married to her second husband Matthew Koma, and now has three children. Carter had said as recently as 2014 that Duff was the “love of my life.”
“I don’t know who she is today, she doesn’t know who I am today, but I would sweep her off her feet if I ever got a chance to again and fix what I did wrong,” he told Entertainment Tonight.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.