Darren Criss mourns older brother Charles, shares an emotional tribute

Miu von Furstenberg 4 Min Read
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Darren Criss and Charles Criss
Musicians Darren Criss (L) and Chuck Criss of Computer Games attend the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcast live on Turner’s TBS, TNT, and truTV at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Darren Criss shared in a Wednesday (March 2, 2022) statement on Instagram that his brother, Freelance Whales musician Charles “Chuck” Criss died in February.

“It breaks my heart beyond measure to say that my beloved brother Charles has left us. Obviously this is a colossal shock. His loss leaves behind a debilitating fracture in the lives of his mother, his brother, his three small children, and their respective mothers,” he began in his lengthy statement. “I have spent what already feels like a small eternity trying to wrap my head around it, something I suspect I’ll be attempting to do for the rest of my life.”

“I loved my brother so much, and I know he loved me,” he continued. “‘Charles & Darren’ were an inseparable, dynamic duo. We shared nearly everything and looked out for each other.”

According to the post, which also included photos of Darren and his brother in happier times, Charles had suffered with severe depression for many years before dying by suicide. After reflecting on his brother’s best traits, his gift for music and the love he shared with friends and family, Darren reminded readers that the scope of his brother’s life can never be limited to the way he died.

“There are hundreds of one-line solutions one could apply here: perhaps this was a way to finally feel control over a life he felt he had lost control of, maybe this was the only way in which he could find peace,” the former Glee star wrote. “But I feel that leaving the matter there would be reductive of the much larger examination required of this tragedy.”

“All of the wonderful, inspiring, positive things about his life far outshine the circumstances by which it came to an end,” he continued. “Chuck Criss was vibrant, special, worldly, hilarious, insightful, gifted, intelligent, celebrated and adored.”

The Hollywood actor also took a moment to encourage people struggling with mental health issues to reach out for the help they need. “Seeking professional counseling and support is a wonderful way to help you see just how abundantly love is available to you,” he wrote. “It is an infinite resource. One you deserve not only to receive from others, but to receive from yourself as well.”

In addition to being a loving father to three children — “His world revolved around them,” Darren wrote — Chuck was a musician who performed in groups with and without his brother. A founding member of indie group Freelance Whales, he and Darren started off making garage rock music in high school before forming the duo Computer Games. Billboard spoke to the brothers about growing up and making music together when the group launched in 2017.

Read Darren Criss’ full statement about his brother’s death below

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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