Will Young says brother suffered a medical emergency before Pop Idol

Will Young opened up about how his late twin brother Rupert suffered a medical emergency just moments before he took to the stage on Pop Idol in 2002.

The singer, who was 22 at the time, explained how Rupert had made several attempts on his own life, including one just before he appeared on the show.

Rupert fell from Westminster Bridge in July 2020 aged 41 following a long battle with depression and an addiction to alcohol and painkillers.

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Traumatic: Will Young opened up about how his late twin brother Rupert suffered a medical emergency just moments before he took to the stage on Pop Idol in 2002

Will recalled how moments before he was due to sing his brother’s stitches on his wrists had burst open following a recent suicide attempt, on his Channel 4 documentary Will Young: Losing My Twin Rupert.

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He said: ‘The suicide attempts, him cutting his wrists, that started at 18 and carried on for years. I remember we were 22, I had started Pop Idol auditions moving into live TV and Rupert had really badly cut his wrists in Bristol.

‘Then he came to the studios that weekend and his stitches burst open when I was about to go on and sing.

Recalling: The singer, who was 22 at the time, explained how Rupert had made several attempts on his own life, including one just before he appeared on the show

Horrifying: Will recalled how moments before he was due to sing his brother’s stitches on his wrists had burst open following a recent suicide attempt, on his Channel 4 documentary Will Young: Losing My Twin Rupert (pictured on the day)

He said: ‘Then he came to the studios that weekend and his stitches burst open when I was about to go on and sing’ (pictured on the day)

Will’s mother Annabel, said: ‘He was standing in the wings, you were about to go on but his arm was dripping with blood by then. He wouldn’t go to the ambulance until he’d seen you perform.

‘It’s a very visceral thing to think of the cutting of wrists. I just thought, I’ve got to get on with it.’

Elsewhere during the documentary, Will told how Rupert would sometimes pass out on the streets ‘towards the end’ of his life.

Tragedy: Rupert fell from Westminster Bridge in July 2020 aged 41 following a long battle with depression and an addiction to alcohol and painkillers

Recalling the final months of his brother’s life, Will said: ‘Towards the end, he was knocking on neighbours doors in the morning asking for money. He was passed out outside a newsagent.

‘He had become a person that was on the street. I don’t judge those people actually. I feel great empathy for them because that is Rupert, that’s what he became.’

Will also spoke about the moment he was told by police that his brother had taken his own life, which happened shortly after he had kicked him out of the house.

The singer had become a carer for Rupert at that point as he struggled with his dependency on alcohol.

Elsewhere during the documentary, Will told how Rupert would sometimes pass out on the streets ‘towards the end’ of his life

Will also speculated that Rupert’s death may have been partially due to the passing of his beloved dog Lola just two months before.

He said: ‘It was like her and Rupert were one. Rupert always joked that when Lola died he would go on the biggest bender ever but when she died it was really dreadful. 

‘He never explicitly said I will leave this earth when Lola leaves this earth but Lola died end of May 2020 and he died in July 2020. At the end he would be drinking for 24 hours a day.’

Recalling the final months of his brother’s life, Will said: ‘Towards the end, he was knocking on neighbours doors in the morning asking for money. He was passed out outside a newsagent’

Recalling kicking Rupert out, Will said he knew there was a possibility his brother might die if he was out on his own.

He explained: ‘I had to be OK with that. I was OK with everything that I had done to try and help him. I knew there was nothing more that I could do. I hadn’t got to that stage before but I reached that stage.

‘It was Sunday and I answered the door and there were policemen standing there. I said, ‘He’s killed himself hasn’t he?’ That was the first thing I said. They said, ‘Can we come in?’ and I said, ‘Just tell me’, and one of them said, ‘Yeah he has killed himself.”

He added: ‘That brought a whole load of grief, that I couldn’t save him.’

Rupert’s alcohol dependency began around age 18 and carried on throughout his adult life.

Will noted that Rupert did become sober around 2005, saying it was ‘nice not to worry about him’ for a period of time.

He started drinking again after breaking up with a girlfriend and moved in with his brother in 2016.

Will said: ‘I can’t remember why they broke up but I do think then he went back into drinking. From the time he started to live with me from 2016, he would drink about 40 beers a day. 

‘I was his carer. Cleaning up the p**s, cleaning up the sick, sometimes I had to wipe his a*s. It was really quite bad.’

Reaction: Viewers took to social media to praise Will and Channel 4 for highlighting alcohol dependency

Viewers took to social media to praise Will and Channel 4 for highlighting alcohol dependency.

One said: ‘Losing My Twin Rupert is a brilliant programme. Honest, brutal, tender, and beautifully paced. Addiction is an awful illness that’s more often than not misunderstood.

Another wrote: ‘I swear, I’ve not stopped crying for this past hour. Rupert will live on through his family and they’re so brave for opening up and talking so openly about him.’

Another viewer added: ‘So sad, so many people can connect with this story.’ 

At the end of the programme, Will said he still carries pain over his brother’s death, but has learned not to ‘ignore it’.

He said: ‘That’s the key. There’s lots of signs for me that he’s there. Talking about him is nice. That’s how we keep people alive.’

For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. Seewww.samaritans.org for details. 

Memories: At the end of the programme, Will said he still carries pain over his brother’s death, but has learned not to ‘ignore it’