'Dancing With the Stars' Judge Carrie Ann Inaba Remembers 'Bright Light' Aaron Carter (Exclusive)

Aaron Carter competed on season 9 of 'Dancing With the Stars.'

The Dancing With the Stars family is taking the time to remember season 9 contestant Aaron Carter. The singer, who placed fifth on the dancing competition back in 2009, died over the weekend. He was 34. 

"I saw the news, and I was shocked," DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba tells ET. "It's a true tragedy because he was just very innocent, to me, it's like an innocent, young child. And when he was on the show, he was like a child just kind of becoming a man." 

Carter performed with DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff during his time on the show, and Inaba praised his performances. 

"I will always remember him for being this beautiful, bright light that seemed really misunderstood. And I felt like on Dancing With the Stars, he had this moment where people could see him in his fullest sense," Inaba shares. "He was shining and he was free. And he was starting new chapters. And I'll always remember that about him. He is somebody who sits right here in my heart and I think of him all the time." 

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Describing herself as "heartbroken" over the singer's death, Inaba adds, "My love and my condolences to his family, but he will be missed because he was a very special, sweet person."

DWTS pro Mark Ballas, who also spent time with Carter, also opens up to ET about his death. "Just devastating news. When I read of his passing, I was just sad," he says. "I had some good times with Aaron. We jammed together. We played a few gigs together outside of this. So we got to hang out, spend some time, so just sad. There’s not much to say. I’m just sending out good thoughts, and I’m just really sad."

Smirnoff posted about his death on Instagram on Monday, captioning a video of one of their performances together. "RIP @aaroncarter So young! It’s heartbreaking! 💔💔💔 you always made people smile. Rest In Peace friend! You will be missed," she wrote.

According to multiple reports, Aaron was found dead Saturday at his home in Lancaster, California, about an hour north of Los Angeles where multiple L.A. County Sheriff's vehicles were seen surrounding the home. TMZ reports a 911 call was made Saturday morning and responding authorities found Aaron's body in his bathtub. The cause of death has not been confirmed.


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