In the hours after singer-rapper Aaron Carter’s death on Nov. 5, social media tributes for the 34-year-old started pouring in. While many fans recalled the joy he brought them with hits like “I Want Candy” or his role as their first childhood celebrity crush, celebrities who knew him personally also weighed in. His brother, Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, wrote a particularly heartbreaking tribute, as did Hilary Duff, who dated the “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” singer in the early 2000s.
Nick’s relationship with Carter may have been tumultuous, but his post was full of love and sorrow. “My heart has been broken today,” he wrote on Instagram on Nov. 6. “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. 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.”
As Carter’s fans may remember, he also had three sisters, who starred alongside him and Nick on the E! reality series House of Carters in 2006. His twin, Angel Carter, also shared a heartbreaking message for her brother and wished him peace. “To my twin… I loved you beyond measure,” she wrote. “You will be missed dearly. My funny, sweet Aaron,I have so many memories of you and I, and I promise to cherish them. I know you’re at peace now. I will carry you with me until the day I die and get to see you again.”
Carter made his acting debut on Disney Channel’s beloved comedy Lizzie McGuire in 2001, and he and star Hilary Duff, then just early teens, started dating. After being linked off and on for two years, they ultimately didn’t maintain a friendship. Still, Duff had empathy for her fellow former child star’s struggles and remembered the love she once had for him.
“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, in part. “You had a charm that was absolutely effervescent… boy did my teenage self love you deeply.”
Many more celebrities shared their sadness as well as sent their thoughts and prayers to Carter’s family, including Paris Hilton, Christy Carlson Romano, and the official Twitter accounts for New Kids on the Block and *NSYNC.
Other musicians shared fond memories of him. Tyler Hilton remembered how Carter “had such a spark” and “loved putting on a show,” while Samantha Scarlette called him “such a sweet soul” who “never had a chance.”
Still others, like Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Spencer Pratt, didn’t have many words, but “RIP” showed their love.
Meanwhile, Melanie Martin, Carter’s former fiancée and the mother of his son, Prince, issued a statement to TMZ about the loss on Nov. 5. “I love Aaron with all my heart and it’s going to be a journey to raise a son without a father,” she said. “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.”