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'Everybody Loves Raymond' Twin Sawyer Sweeten Battled Inner Demons – He Was Later Found Dead

Junie Sihlangu
Nov 16, 2019
06:30 P.M.
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A few years ago, the "Everybody Loves Raymond" cast lost one of their own in the form of child star Sawyer Sweeten. He allegedly struggled with his inner demons when he died as a teenager.

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Twin brothers Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten were well-known for playing the roles of Geoffrey and Michael Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond." The identical twins found fame when they were very young.

The Sweeten twins were cast in the series in 1996 when they were just 16 months old. They managed to stay on the show until its 2005 final episode in 2005, with a total appearance in 142 episodes.

"Everybody Loves Raymond" cast bids farewell in Los Angeles on October 18, 2004, and Madylin, Sawyer, and Sullivan Sweeten at "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas" Hollywood premiere on November 8, 1999 | Photos: Monty Brinton/CBS Photo Archive & Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

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The Sweeten brothers had a family thing going on, "Everybody Loves Raymond," with their older sister, Madylin Sweeten, also starring in it. In the sitcom, she featured as their on-screen sister Ally Barone.

THE SWEETEN ACTING BACKGROUND

Before moving to California, the Sweeten family was based in Texas. By the time they moved, Sawyer and Sullivan were only six months old, and they had six other siblings, which included half-siblings, besides Madylin.

Madylin, Sawyer, and Sullivan Sweeten at the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - HBO After Party on September 18, 2005 | Photo: Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images

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The Sweeten family consisted of nine children in total, but the twins' other siblings never got into the acting industry. Sawyer, Sullivan, and Madylin were cast to star on "Everybody Loves Raymond" a year later.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TWINS & MADYLIN

After the sitcom ended, Sawyer left Hollywood for good, and his brother followed suit. However, Madylin, now-29, seemed to have a thing for the industry and has kept pursuing it.

Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten at the party celebrating the 200th Episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" on October 14, 2004, at Spago in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

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She's starred in television movies like "The Christmas Path and A Dog of Flanders" and still works as an actress. Sullivan, now-25, only returned to acting in 2017 for the short film "Casting."

SAWYER'S DEATH

Sadly, ten years after the series concluded, the Sweeten family and the "Everybody Loves Raymond" suffered a tragic loss. Sawyer passed away unexpectedly at the tender age of 19.

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The former child star, who'd won the hearts of thousands of fans with his character, died in his Texas hometown. Sawyer died by suicide just two weeks before his 20th birthday, with his family stating:

"We are devastated to report that our beloved brother, son, and friend, Sawyer Sweeten, took his own life.”

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The star's family called the incident "a terrible family tragedy." Sawyer and his twin brother were visiting family when the former was found dead on April 23, 2015, and it seemed he was struggling with inner demons.

THE PAIN BEHIND SAWYER'S SMILE

After his death, Sawyer's family and friends were saddened that the happy teenager had lived with so much pain hidden inside. In a People interview, his mother Elizabeth, and step-father, Jerry Gini, opened up.

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They revealed that he'd been a cheerful actor who never abused drugs or alcohol. His parents noted that he was an ordinary young man who loved video games, his Harley-Davidson, pets, and family.

Elizabeth and Jerry recalled how upbeat and happy Sawyer always was. However, they confessed that they noticed a change from the young actor during the last week of his life – he just wasn't himself.

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THE MISSED SIGNS

Three months after his tragic death, Elizabeth opened up to People about Sawyer's final days. She recalled him having "mental breakdowns" and saying things that didn't make sense and were delusional.

However, she did explain that some things she missed were because they didn't live together. She shared how the young actor had once admitted that he felt like he was nonexistent to a family member.

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Elizabeth speculated that the way he felt probably led him to believe that death was the only way to escape his feelings. In hindsight, Sawyer's mother felt the signs had been red flags and quite obvious, adding:

“His thoughts would run wild, and he could do nothing to make them stop.”

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During the July 2015 interview, Elizabeth also shared how she focused on making sure her other children were well-balanced. She noted how her daughter, Maysa, struggled with panic attacks and insomnia.

TRIBUTES TO SAWYER

Sawyer's sister Madylin led the tributes for his brother on social media. Taking to Facebook, at the time, she encouraged her followers to reach out to their loved ones and let them know how much they meant to them.

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The "Everybody Loves Raymond" cast also shared their grief after hearing about the loss. Ray Romano, who played his on-screen father, described him as a sweet and wonderful child to E! News.

The Emmy Award-winning sitcom actor’s parents [Elizabeth Gini and Tim Sweeten] shared how Sawyer [Sweeten] had wanted to become a veterinarian.

Sawyer's on-screen mother, Patricia Heaton, tweeted how bright and funny the late star had been. She felt he'd left them too soon, while his on-screen grandmother, Doris Roberts, also wrote a touching Facebook tribute.

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BURIAL ISSUES

In May 2015, The Mirror reported that Sawyer's parents allegedly fought over funeral and burial plans. A source close to Elizabeth and her ex Tim Sweeten was apparently at loggerheads.

However, the source claimed Elizabeth and the rest of the family shot that idea down. Instead, they demanded that Sawyer be buried in California because that was the place he called home.

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His mother and family members felt the late star needed to be close to family. They wished to be able to have easy access to him when they wanted to visit or pay their respects.

It was believed Elizabeth also wanted Sawyer close so that he wasn't far when she finally left the Earth to join him. The Emmy Award-winning sitcom actor's parents shared how Sawyer had wanted to become a veterinarian.

They said the teenager had a passion for helping animals, and he and his twin brother had brought a house together before he died. We hope he continues to rest in eternal peace.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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