Darren Criss Mourns Death of Brother Charles at 36

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Charles and Darren Criss
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for NFL SUNDAY TICKET on DIRECTV

Darren Criss is mourning a devastating loss. The 35-year-old actor took to Instagram on Wednesday to share that his older brother, Charles "Chuck" Criss, died by suicide last month at age 36.

"It breaks my heart beyond measure to say that my beloved brother Charles has left us," Darren began his lengthy letter, which he posted alongside photos of his brother. "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."

First, Darren noted that "it was very hard not to be fond of Chuck Criss," adding that "there was something so disarming about his mild manner that you couldn't help but feel affectionate towards him."

Darren went on to remember his brother as "a total goofball, which made him all the more lovable."

"Being silly was one of his greatest love languages," Darren wrote. "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 followed by a bursting, boisterous laugh so infectious, it instantly made whatever was initially funny even funnier."

Darren next moved to his love for his brother, writing, "Right out of the womb, he was my instant, ready-made best friend. And from that moment on, we absolutely loved being together."

"We shared nearly everything and looked out for each other. He was my confidant and companion as we discovered the world together. As we got older, music became one of our greatest bonds," Darren wrote. "... We were each other's culture & comedy brokers. Nostalgia & adolescence witnesses. Video game & basketball buddies. Unwaveringly supportive audience members. He was my favorite playmate, schoolmate, bandmate -- and I am so eternally grateful that I got to share the adventure of growing up with an older brother like that. My life is better for it."

Darren then wrote about how his brother "loved fully" in his life, no one more so than his three children, whom his "world revolved around."

In the next section of his note, Darren wrote about the manner in which his brother died, acknowledging that he had to "meditate over how much information to disclose."

"The last several years were increasingly difficult for Chuck as he struggled to find stability during an unfortunate rough patch in his life," Darren wrote. "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, 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," he continued. "... Whatever affliction Chuck had, he must've had it really, really bad. A state that I can't even imagine. A place where, even for a person who was as universally adored as he was, the darkness had to have been that strong, powerful enough to block out the magnitude of light coming in from the outside."

Darren ended his note by writing that, "while it was a lapse in Chuck's mental wellness that took him, it is simply not something that can define who he was."

"All of the wonderful, inspiring, positive things about his life far outshine the circumstances by which it came to an end," he wrote. "Chuck Criss was vibrant, special, worldly, hilariously, 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. 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."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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