Brandt was found dead yesterday at the age of 65 in his Coconut Grove home by his housekeeper. Reports indicate the death might have been a suicide, though it has not been confirmed. Update: The death has now been confirmed by police as suicide by hanging.
“He passed away this morning. He was suffering from an illness. Everyone who knows him is devastated," his publicist, Jacquie Trachtenberg, said in a statement released to the New York Post. “I worked with him for over 20 years, and he was an amazing man; not only was he a brilliant doctor, but he was the kindest human being."
Miami Herald gossip columnist Lesley Abravanel, however, reports that the illness was depression and that Brandt was reportedly devastated by a recent character based on him on the Tina Fey-created Netflix show, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
The character, Dr. Franff, was played by Martin Short in an episode penned by Fey herself.
Sources: Dr Fredric Brandt was "devastated" over comparisons to the protagonist on Tina Fey’s new Netflix show, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) April 5, 2015
“The show definitely deeply hurt him, he was being made fun of because of the way he looks," Trachtenberg told The Post. “It is mean, and it was bullying. But the show was not the reason for his depression, and it was not the reason he would take his own life.”
Originally from New Jersey, Brandt wound up in Miami to complete his residency at the University of Miami's medical school. He opened his own practice in 1988 in Coral Gables, but by the late '90s, word of mouth about the doctor's unique techniques had spread to New York, and he was increasingly flown in for private consultations by the city's rich and famous. He eventually opened a practice in New York as well, splitting his time between the two cities. In addition to his office in Coral Gables, he also ran the Dermatology Research Institute and developed a line of skincare products.
Brandt, whose clients included Madonna, Stephanie Seymour, and Kelly Ripa, was known for his procedures resulting in something of a trademark face shape. Clients often ended up looking like an inverted heart, with plump cheeks, full lips and a taut jawline, all achieved through fillers and other injectables. Brandt was also famous for experimenting on himself.
“I always try things on myself,” he told the New York Times in 2013. “That way I can see if it works or it doesn’t work. And it gives people reassurance.”
Little was known about Brandt's personal life, something he claimed he didn't have much time for. He never married and shared his Miami home with three dogs.