“I learned there’s a very valuable lesson in growing up as a young star and then being about to come out on the other side,” the “I Want Candy” singer exclusively told Us Weekly in April 2017 of when he started performing at the age of 7. “People lose their way, but I figured out a bit of a formula. It’s hard work, dedication, listening to people, and having an open mind and being open to learning — being humble is important. When you start off so young, you lose sight of what’s reality and it becomes your normality.”
The Florida native rose to fame in the early 2000s, serving as the opening act for older brother Nick Carter’s The Backstreet Boys band. Aaron soon became a musical hit of his own, releasing singles “Oh, Aaron,” “Not Too Young, Not Too Old” and “That’s How I Beat Shaq.” After multiple smash records, the Dancing With the Stars alum ultimately took a 15-year hiatus from releasing albums.
As the late House of Carter alum grew up, he struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, as well as mental health challenges.
“I thought I would die by 30,” Aaron recalled to Us in December 2017, shortly after his 30th birthday. “Even when I was 13, 14, I thought, ‘Oh, my God. I’m going to die.’ Life was pretty tough. I dealt with a lot of trauma, a lot of loss, a lot of loneliness. I just felt like I needed to get away.”
“It’s all a beautiful blessing because I’ve had a lot of relationships and I started [to] kind of [give] up on love. I was talking about having a family years ago,” Aaron — who split from Martin in February 2022 — told Us one month after Prince’s arrival. “I [wanted] to be at home and enjoy the love of my life and my child. Now that it’s here, it’s like an epiphany. Every minute now has become so precious and every bit of time that slips by now … I’ve [really] switched my gears of thinking. I’ve given a lot of people second and third chances, as you can see with us and the stuff that we’ve gone through.”
Us confirmed in November 2022 that Aaron had died at the age of 34 when he was found unresponsive in his California home.
“My baby. I can’t breathe,” Martin captioned an Instagram Story tribute at the time.
Scroll below to revisit Aaron’s ups and downs ahead of his death: