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Darren Criss shares heartbreaking tribute after older brother dies at 36

The former "Glee" star called his late brother, Chuck, "a good man with a good heart who contributed enormous amounts of laughter, music, and joy to the world."
Darren Criss and Chuck Criss
Darren Criss, left, has posted an emotional tribute to his brother, Chuck Criss, who died last month.Jim Smeal / Shutterstock

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or go to for additional resources.

Darren Criss is mourning the loss of his older brother, Charles "Chuck" Criss.

The former "Glee" star, 35, announced the news of his brother's passing in an emotional post Wednesday on Instagram, revealing that Chuck Criss had died by suicide last month at age 36.

Alongside photos of himself and his brother over the years, the Emmy winner wrote, “It breaks my heart beyond measure to say that my beloved brother Charles has left us.”

“Obviously this is a colossal shock," he continued. "His loss leaves behind a debilitating fracture in the lives of his mother, his brother, his three small children, and their respective mothers.

“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. But in the short time that I’ve had to process everything, I’ve managed to put some words together that may help with some of the questions you may have," he wrote.

Criss described his late brother as a lovable "goofball" who made those around him laugh with his sharp humor.

“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,” the actor wrote.

Darren Criss's Debut Performance In Broadway's "Hedwig And The Angry Inch"
Darren Criss and brother Chuck Criss in 2015.Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic

The "American Crime Story" star went on to say that he and his brother adored one another from the time they were little.

“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," he wrote.

The actor said his late brother was a musician who possessed "a raw, inimitable talent" that was inspiring.

“His impressive skills as a musician mixed with his poetic observation of the world yielded a prolific amount of music that was endlessly unique, clever, fun, intriguing and beautiful to me ... A fitting metaphor for his very soul," he wrote.

He also described his brother as a devoted father to his three children, writing, "His world revolved around them, and he loved being their father. He shared with them his own joy, good humor, and song, and they adored him for it."

Criss said the last several years had been "difficult" for his brother, who had "struggled to find stability during an unfortunate rough patch in his life."

"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 a severe depression welling up in him for some time,” he wrote, “a depression that was only worsened by a lifelong struggle he had with expressing his feelings — a dangerous combination 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.

"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."

Criss urged others who are struggling with depression or other mental health issues to seek help through professional counseling and other support. "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 wrote.

Criss concluded his post by sharing his wish that his brother not be defined by the circumstances of his death. “All of the wonderful, inspiring, positive things about his life far outshine the circumstances by which it came to an end,” he wrote.

“He was a good man with a good heart who contributed enormous amounts of laughter, music, and joy to the world,” he added. “And for the ones who were lucky enough to take part in those wonderful moments, it’s marvelous to know that those memories are plentiful, everlasting, and can never be taken away.”