[Editor’s note: This story discusses suicide and descriptions of severe depression. Please take care as you read.]
Charles “Chuck” Criss, the 36-year-old brother of actor Darren Criss, died by suicide last month. Darren posted a moving tribute to his older brother on Wednesday, sharing a long letter as well as family photos on his Instagram.
In the moving letter, Darren explained that Chuck was “consumed” by the “war within himself” and wound up taking his life. The actor explained that his brother had been facing mental health struggles, namely severe depression, for a number of years. “It’s crushing to say now that Chuck clearly had had a severe depression welling up in him for some time, a depression that was only worsened by a lifelong struggle he had with expressing his feelings—a dangerous combination truly outmatched by his all-too-incredible ability to conceal it,” Darren wrote in the post.
Charles, whom Darren described as being a “goofball” and “wickedly funny,” was a singer and songwriter. He performed in the band Computer Games with Darren and was a member of indie rock band Freelance Whales. In his touching tribute, Darren called Chuck his very best friend. “I loved my brother so much. And I know he loved me. Right out of the womb, he was my instant, ready-made best friend. And from that moment on, we absolutely loved being together,” he wrote. He also said he would be thinking of his brother’s suicide for the rest of his life and apologized to the people who knew his brother and would be finding out about Chuck’s death through the post.
Many of Darren’s friends, including some Glee co-stars, took to the comments section to offer their words of heartfelt support. “I am so sorry, bud. He was a truly wonderful guy. Sending you and your beautiful family all of my love,” wrote Chris Colfer. “Love you Darren. We will miss you Chuck,” Lea Michele said.
According to the most recent data from the CDC, suicide is sadly the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2020, 45,979 people in the U.S. died by suicide, and there were 1.2 million suicide attempts.