Ghostbusters II Baby Oscar Actor and John Denver's Nephew Dead of Apparent Suicide After Battle with Mental Illness
This article originally appeared on People.com.
Henry ‘Hank’ Deutschendorf, who played baby Oscar in Ghostbusters II, has reportedly died by suicided at the age of 28.
His twin brother William, who also played Sigourney Weaver’s character’s baby Oscar in the 1989 film, confirmed the news online. “It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my twin brother, Hank,” he wrote. “On Wednesday, June 14th, 2017, Henry John Deutschendorf II lost his battle with schizoaffective disorder.”
Deutschendorf, also the nephew of country singer John Denver, died by suicide at his home in Escondido, California last week, according to TMZ. His brother did not elaborate on a cause of death.
Hank later appeared as himself in a 2017 documentary about Ghostbusters titled Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters.
William, who ran a martial arts school in San Diego with his twin, opened up about his brother’s battle with schizoaffective disorder, a chronic mental health condition which is a combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. “He experienced hallucinations, delusions, depression, and mania,” William wrote online.
“It is a very severe mental illness that usually requires a lifetime of treatment. It is not well studied, so the treatment is largely an estimation based on schizophrenia and bipolar treatments,” he said, adding that his brother was diagnosed with the disorder in 2008.
“If you knew Hank before his diagnosis, you knew a young man who was upbeat, healthy, witty, kind, outgoing, and was always ready to stand up for people,” William continued, noting that Hank’s medication had side effects that “took a toll” on his personality.
Despite the illness, William wrote his brother got “his third and fourth degree black belt in Kempo, bought his own condo, and found the love of his life.” He added that Hank will be remembered by is family, nieces and nephews, close friends, students and his girlfriend.
William is asking that those who want to help donate to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
In addition to honoring Hank’s memory, William said, “It is also very important to me to immediately spread awareness about schizophrenia, bipolar, and suicide prevention.”