Darren Criss Mourns Death of His Dad in Heart-Wrenching Tribute

Darren Criss Charles Criss
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

'He made the world a better place.'

Darren Criss wants his fans to know the impact his father, Charles William Criss Jr., who often went by Bill, had on his life. 

On Monday, the Hollywood star took to Instagram to share photos of his dad, who recently died at 78. In addition to sharing a number of family pics and older images of his father, Criss also penned a heartfelt message. 

"Bill Criss has left the building. After many years of coping with a rare heart condition -- which, true to his form, very few would have even been aware of -- he finally checked out peacefully yesterday morning, surrounded by his loved ones," the 33-year-old actor began his note. "Dad lived an extraordinary life. Anyone who ever met Bill Criss adored him instantly. He could talk to anyone about anything. Well-read and well-traveled, he made the world a better place wherever he went."

The message continued, "He was as deliriously charming as he was relentlessly selfless; always putting other people first, making anybody who ever got into a conversation with him genuinely feel like they were the most incredible person in the room. And although he would have been the first to gracefully protest it, the simple truth is that he was in fact, every inch the exemplary man: a devoted husband, an outstanding father, a loving grandparent."

Criss described his dad as a man with an "unwavering sense of composure, compassion, generosity, and humility," as well as "a true gentleman through and through" who was "a constant source of joy and inspiration" for him.

"I've spent most of my life trying to be like him, wanting to see and do all the incredible things he did -- and I'm so grateful he was around to see me actually pull a few off," Criss wrote. "He was there for the greatest moments of my life, which of course, he always dressed up for. His kind blue eyes, big laugh, and infamous warm smile could not have been a better representation of who he was to his core."

The proud son concluded his message: "I cherished him every day, and will forever."

Among the photos shared was one from Criss and Mia Swier's wedding day last year that his father attended in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here's what Criss told ET about wedding planning back in 2018: