The Shocking Cause of Aaron Carter's Death: Here's Everything We Know

Troubled singer Aaron Carter died at the age of 34 — what was his cause of death? Plus, his history of substance abuse issues.

Anna Quintana - Author

Apr. 19 2023, Updated 12:40 p.m. ET

Aaron Carter
Source: Getty Images

Pop singer Aaron Carter died at the age of 34 in November 2022. According to TMZ, Aaron was found dead at his home on Saturday, Nov. 5, with sources telling the outlet his body was found in the bathtub by his live-in housekeeper.

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Earlier in the year, the "I Want Candy" singer had been making headlines for his erratic behavior instead of his music. In September 2022, Aaron got a welfare check from police after fans believed he had overdosed.

So, what happened to Aaron? What was his cause of death?

Aaron Carter attends 102.7 KIIS FM's 2017 Wango Tango at StubHub Center on May 13, 2017 in Carson, California
Source: Getty Images
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What was Aaron Carter's cause of death?

On April 18, 2023, Variety, which viewed a copy of Aaron's autopsy report, reported that Aaron's death was "caused by drowning and the effects of alprazolam, a generic form of Xanax, and inhaling difluoroethane."

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner ruled his death an accident. The first cause of death listed is drowning; the second is difluoroethane and Xanax. Difluoroethane is an ingredient commonly used in compressed air cans.

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What Makes Difluoroethane So Dangerous?

DFE is extremely dangerous due to its ability to cause serious damage to the body, especially the respiratory system. When inhaled, it can rapidly enter the bloodstream and reach the brain, leading to a temporary high or euphoria. However, the effects of DFE inhalation can quickly turn deadly, causing seizures, heart palpitations, and suffocation.

The long-term effects of DFE inhalation can be irreversible, leading to permanent brain damage and other health issues. It is crucial to handle and use products containing DFE responsibly and to seek medical attention immediately if exposed to its harmful effects.

Following Aaron's death, his older brother, Nick Carter, also cited addiction and mental illness.

In an emotional post on Instagram, Nick wrote, "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 can finally have the peace you could never find here on earth."

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Aaron had checked into rehab for the fifth time, and he was very open about his opioid addiction. "Everybody thought, 'Oh my god, he has AIDS, he's a crackhead, he's a meth head,'" he said in his E! True Hollywood Story. "That's when I realized, OK, either you get your s--t together or you make the decision to slowly die."

During an appearance on The Doctors in 2019, Aaron also opened up about his mental health struggle, sharing that he has "multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety" and that he is a "manic depressive." He also revealed that he is prescribed Xanax, Seroquel, gabapentin, hydroxyzine, trazodone, and omeprazole.

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Aaron was estranged from Nick at the time of his death.

Nick Carter and Aaron Carter
Source: Getty Images

At one point, Aaron accused Nick and his former fiancée, Melanie Martin, of trying to put him in a conservatorship, tweeting, "I have the most conniving, deceiving family and Melanie has been lying to me the whole time communicating with my twin sister and the family members who tried to put me in prison and who tried to get a conservatorship on me in court."

However, sources told E! News at the time that Aaron and Nick, who had a restraining order against Aaron in 2019, were estranged.

"After careful consideration, my sister Angel and I regret that we were required to seek a restraining order against our brother Aaron today," Nick said at the time. "In light of Aaron's increasingly alarming behavior and his recent confession that he harbors thoughts and intentions of killing my pregnant wife and unborn child, we were left with no choice but to take away every measure possible to protect ourselves and our family."

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Aaron Carter is survived by his son, Prince.

Before his death, he was entering treatment to regain custody of his son, Prince, who he shares with his ex-fiancée, Melanie.

“I decided to enroll myself into that program. This will be my fifth time in rehabilitation, mainly to take care of aftercare,” he said on social media. “There’s been no relapses. I haven’t had any relapses ... it’s just triggers are big right now for me. You know, so, I just, I want my son back.”

He added, "It’s an abstinence program and I work with an individual counselor. 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.”

Our thoughts are with Aaron's family and friends during this difficult time.

If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.

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