Putting a tragic cap on a week where twin child stars have been in the news, Variety reports that Sawyer Sweeten, a child actor who, along with his twin brother Sullivan and older sister Madylin, played the Barone siblings on Everybody Loves Raymond, has died of an apparent suicide. He was 19 years old.
Madylin Sweeten broke the news in a statement last night, saying that Sawyer had died while visiting relatives in Texas. (He reportedly shot himself on the front porch of the family home.) “We are devastated to report that our beloved brother, son, and friend, Sawyer Sweeten, took his own life,” Madylin Sweeten said. “He was weeks away from his 20th birthday. At this sensitive time, our family requests privacy and we beg of you to reach out to the ones you love.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten were 16 months old when they joined the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond in 1996, and remained on the show until it ended its run in 2005. The brothers, who acted as a team, also appeared in joint roles on a 2000 episode of Even Stevens and in the 2002 comedy Frank McKlusky, C.I. The last time the Sweetens appeared in public together was at the 2010 TV Land Awards, and they largely stayed out of the limelight after Everybody Loves Raymond wrapped.
Deadline has rounded up a handful of tributes to Sweeten from his former co-stars: His TV dad, Ray Romano, says that “[I am] shocked and terribly saddened by the news. He was a wonderful and sweet kid to be around. Just a great energy whenever he was there.” His TV mom, Patricia Heaton, says, “Sawyer Sweeten was a funny and exceptionally bright young man. He is gone from us far too soon. The entire cast of Everybody Loves Raymond is in shock.” Co-star Doris Roberts adds, “It is with great sadness that I learned the news that Sawyer Sweeten, who played my grandson Geoffrey Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond, died at his family’s home in Texas. He was a very sweet young man who will be dearly missed.”