Nick Carter says Backstreet Boys’ support after brother Aaron’s death ‘meant a lot to me'

For almost 30 years, the Backstreet Boys have been more than just bandmates, they’ve been a family.

Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson have been through many life events together, most recently the death of Carter’s younger brother, Aaron Carter. The former teen star died on Nov. 5 at the age of 34.

The boy band was on tour in London when the news broke and had a show the very next day. Videos of Nick Carter in tears and the group paying tribute to the late singer were shared on social media that night. Speaking out for the first time since the Nov. 6 show, Nick Carter told Extra that having the Backstreet Boys and fans’ support has “meant a lot” to him.

“It was very emotional for me and having my guys with me that night, it was tough to get up on stage,” Nick Carter told Billy Bush in a new interview shared on Dec. 2. “There’s the old saying that the show must go on, that’s been in us for years.”

“But I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what was going to come from it, getting up on that stage,” he continued. “Getting the reaction from the fans, it was definitely comforting and it meant a lot to me at the time.”

Taking a moment during their show in London on Nov. 6, a photo of Aaron Carter flashed on screen. Richardson then shared some heartfelt words with their fans.

“We’ve been through highs and lows, ups and downs. You guys have been through it with us. We’ve been through it with you and we thank you for taking us on that journey with you,” he said, before McLean hugged Nick Carter and Littrell joined in.

“Tonight, we’ve got a little bit of heavy hearts ‘cause we lost one of our family members yesterday and we just wanted to find a moment in our show to recognize him,” Richardson continued. “Nick’s little brother, Aaron Carter, passed away yesterday.”

In the interview with Extra, Nick Carter and the rest of the singers touched on how they've been together for 29 years and have gotten closer than ever before.

“Now that we’re older, we all have families, there’s a lot we can relate to one another,” Nick Carter told Bush. “On this last tour… we were golfing a lot together, hanging out a lot together, everything’s kind of brought us closer together than we were before.”

McLean, who also spoke about their new Christmas album they released in October added, “We’re having the most fun now since probably the early, early years.”

On Nov. 5, a rep for Aaron Carter said in a statement to NBC News, “We are extremely saddened and shocked to confirm the passing of Aaron Carter today. At the moment his cause of death is being investigated. We ask that you give the family time and they will have more information when available. We cannot express the outpouring of love coming in.”

A day after the "Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)" singer's death was confirmed, Nick Carter paid tribute to his little brother on Instagram.

Sharing throwback photos of the two, Nick Carter said that even though they had a “complicated relationship” his love for him never faded.

Nick Carter, who had sought a restraining order against his brother in 2019, added that he hoped Aaron would “someday want to walk a healthy path and eventually find the help that he so desperately needed.”

“Sometimes we want to blame someone or something for a loss, but the truth is that addiction and mental illness is the real villain here,” he added. While Aaron Carter had been vocal about his battle with addiction, a cause of death has yet to be officially announced.

Countless other celebrities, including Hilary Duff, paid tribute to the late pop singer. Last month, Aaron Carter’s fiancée, Melanie Martin, honored the late musician as she celebrated their son’s first birthday.

“Happy birthday to my baby boy Prince Lyric Carter,” Martin wrote on Instagram alongside a video collage of Aaron Carter and his son. “Today is going to be a tough one for me but I know your daddy is playing birthday songs for you up in heaven I love you baby boy!!!”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com