'Glee' Star Darren Criss' Brother Dead at 36: 'This Is a Colossal Shock'

Darren Criss is mourning the loss of his older brother. The Glee alum on Wednesday, March 2 shared the tragic news that his brother, Charles "Chuck" Criss, died. In an emotional Instagram post, Criss shared that his brother died by suicide last month, calling his passing a "colossal shock." Charles was 36.

Alongside photos of himself and his brother over the years, the Emmy-winning actor, 35, wrote, "It breaks my heart beyond measure to say that my beloved brother Charles has left us." Criss went on to write that his brother's loss "leaves behind a debilitating fracture in the lives of his" family, including his three children. Criss added that he has "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," before going on to describe his late brother as a lovable "goofball."

"While he may have given off the impression he wasn't particularly outspoken, he would nonetheless, time after time, deliver the most wickedly funny lines that could cut a room in half with his equally impressive timing – which was almost always immediately followed by a bursting, boisterous laugh so infectious, it instantly made whatever was initially funny even funnier," he wrote. "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. 'Charles & Darren' were an inseparable, dynamic duo. We shared nearly everything and looked out for each other."

Referring to his brother as "Chuck" throughout the tribute, Criss went on to reveal that his brother "struggled to find stability during an unfortunate rough patch" in his life." He explained that "despite our very vocal concerns about his well-being, and his protestations that everything was fine, it's crushing to say now that Chuck clearly had had a severe depression welling up in him for some time." Criss said his brother's depression "was only outmatched by his all-too-incredible ability to conceal it. Not just from the world at large, but most tragically, from the people who were closest to him." He continued, "we will never know just how long he was fighting this war within himself. But last week, it consumed him fully, and he succumbed by taking his own life." 

The actor urged others struggling with their mental health to seek help through professional counseling and other support, Criss writing, "allowing oneself to be vulnerable and open about any weakness is in fact an admirable display of strength, and the best first step anyone can take on the road to recovery." He concluded the post by remembering his brother as "vibrant, special, worldly, hilarious, insightful, gifted, intelligent, celebrated and adored. He was a good man with a good heart who contributed enormous amounts of laughter, music, and joy to the world."


If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.