Singer and rapper Aaron Carter accidentally drowned in his bathtub as a result of sedatives he’d taken and gas used in spray cleaners he had inhaled, a coroner’s report said Tuesday.
Carter, the younger brother of the Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter, was found submerged and dead at age 34 in the bathtub of his home in Lancaster, California, on Nov. 5, the autopsy report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner said.
Sheriff’s deputies had been the last people to see Carter alive when they visited his house at 2 a.m. on Nov. 4 for a welfare check after he had been seen and heard “huffing” an inhalant on an Instagram live video, according to a police report included in the autopsy findings. He asked the deputies to leave, and they did.
The autopsy found that the sedative alprazolam, often sold under the brand name Xanax, was found in his system, as was the compressed gas difluoroethane, which the report says is “a gas commonly used as a propellant in air spray cleaners,” which “can induce feelings of euphoria when inhaled.”
The two substances incapacitated him in the tub, and caused the drowning, the report said.
Later in the evening, after deputies checked on Carter, he missed an appointment with a drug counselor, the police report said.
The following day, a person whom authorities called a house sitter at the time but whom the report identifies in quotes as a “housekeeper” came to Carter’s house to offer him coffee. She let herself in when she got no response and heard his dogs barking, according to the report.
The woman found him submerged, wearing a T-shirt and necklace, in a Jacuzzi-style tub with the jets running, and called 911. The operator told her to pull him out and perform CPR, according to the report. Paramedics immediately declared him dead when they arrived.
Investigators found several prescription bottles and multiple scattered cans of an electronic duster that he used for inhaling.
The report referred to Carter as “a celebrity with a known history of substance abuse” who had “multiple interactions with local police relating to the substance abuse.” It cited a particular history of inhalant abuse, and a recent relapse.
Carter began performing as a child in the 1990s, opening for acts including his brother’s boy band and Britney Spears. His career peak came in 2000 with the triple-platinum album “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It),” which produced hit singles including the title song and “I Want Candy.”
He also acted on television shows including “Lizzie McGuire,” and appeared on the family reality show “House of Carters” and “Dancing With the Stars.”
Carter for years had been open about his substance abuse struggles, detailing his issues with inhalants in a 2019 episode of the talk show “The Doctors.” He also said in the interview that he was taking medications for acute anxiety and bipolar disorder.
Nick Carter said after his younger brother’s death that “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.”