The 32-year-old 'Triangle of Sadness' star is said to have experienced "minor" symptoms that escalated quickly and fatally.
Charlbi Dean's family is in mourning. Following the 32-year-old Triangle of Sadness star's sudden and mysterious death on Monday, her brother is speaking out and sharing new details about the rapid-fire succession of events of that day.
In an interview with Rolling Stone from his home in Cape Town, South Africa, Dean's 21-year-old brother, Alex Jacobs, says that Dean began experiencing "mild" symptoms while staying with her partner, Luke Volker, in New York City. As she began feeling worse, Jacobs says, she asked Volker to transport her to an emergency room, where she died hours later. He notes that her cause of her death is still pending an autopsy that was underway on Wednesday.
"This happened literally within the span of a day: getting a headache, going to sleep, waking up her boyfriend and saying please take me to the hospital," Jacobs tells the outlet.
"This is quite shocking for us right now, having something like that happen. She was really the glue that kept us together," he adds, noting that he's concerned about Volker's well being.
"We love him so much," he says. "I can’t imagine what it would have been like, being there. My mom’s biggest worry was that she was going to die alone. He was with her, as close as he could be."
As the family awaits results of Dean's autopsy, Jacobs speculates that her death may have stemmed from a "very, very bad car accident" she was involved in around 2009 that left her with a broken back, and broken ribs, among other ailments.
"They removed her spleen. It’s involved in fighting off infections, and that could have had something to do what happened. Her spleen not being there just added on to the reason why she perhaps couldn’t fight it off," he says.
One theory Jacobs is quick to shut down is that her inexplicable illness could have been linked to COVID vaccines.
"That is completely out of the question, from our point of view," he declares. "That’s not the first bandwagon you need to jump on. I think that’s completely ridiculous and extremely naïve."
A true up-and-coming actress, Dean had scored her first leading role in the Cannes' Palm d'Or-winning Triangle of Sadness opposite Woody Harrelson. Prior to that, she was known for a recurring part on The CW's Black Lightning series.
The acclaimed Triangle of Sadness, about a wrecked cruise ship and its passengers, is slated to hit theaters next month.
"She was so, so stoked about it, and we were really happy to support her," her brother says. "It was incredible seeing her succeed."
Looking back on her legacy, Jacobs says Dean was "extremely caring and extremely loving, more than anyone I could have ever known."
He continues, "She reminded us every day how much she loved us. She spoke to my mom every single day of her life. If the call ended, she’d call her back immediately and say I didn’t get to say goodbye to you."
Volker addressed the devastating loss via Instagram this week, sharing a message of gratitude for those who have reached out to share sympathy and support in the wake of his love's death.
"Hi, everyone. I wanted to just post a picture of Charlbi, but it's a bit hard," Volker shared in a video he posted on Wednesday.
"I just wanted to let you know I see all your messages, all the love, and I appreciate it. I really do," Volker expressed. "It's just, I can't really reply to them right now. But thank you, guys. I appreciate it. I love you."