LOS ANGELES — Singer Aaron Carter accidentally drowned in his bathtub in November after he inhaled compressed gas and took alprazolam, the Los Angeles County medical examiner's office has ruled.
Carter, a former teen heartthrob who rose to fame in the 1990s and in recent years opened up about mental health issues and drug addiction, died Nov. 5 at his Lancaster, California, home at age 34.
The cause of death was drowning due to the effects of the gas, difluoroethane, and alprazolam, the medical examiner's office said in a report.
The manner was ruled as an accident.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were called to Carter's home just before 11 a.m. Nov. 5, officials have said.
Carter was found submerged in a bathtub, and medics declared him dead at the scene, according to the medical examiner's report.
Difluoroethane is a gas found in air spray cleaners for electronic devices, the ME’s report says, and it can be abused to induce euphoria. When it is inhaled intentionally, it can cause sudden cardiac arrest, according to the report. Alprazolam, the brand name of which is Xanax, is a benzodiazepine and can make someone drowsy.
The death of Carter, the "I Want Candy" singer, was met with an outpouring of tributes from stars, including "Lizzie McGuire" actor Hilary Duff, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch" actor Melissa Joan Hart and music artist and actor Tyler Hilton.
Carter’s older brother, Nick Carter, of the ’90s band Backstreet Boys, said in a tribute: “My heart is broken. 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. “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.”
He ended his statement saying he hoped his younger brother would now have a chance to have the “peace you could never find here on earth.”
Carter’s twin sister, Angel, shared several childhood photos on Instagram, saying: “I know you’re at peace now. I will carry you with me until the day I die and get to see you again.”
A representative for Nick Carter and the family declined immediate comment Tuesday.
Diana Dasrath and Phil Helsel reported from Los Angeles and Marlene Lenthang from New York.