Singer-songwriter John Denver made hearts swoon in the 1970s with his hit country songs such as “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Rocky Mountain High.”

But his life came to a tragic end in October 1997 when an engine failed on his two-seat plane, plunging him into the waters off the coast of California.

ON THIS DAY (1997): Singer John Denver was killed in the crash of his privately built aircraft in Monterey Bay, California. He was 53. (?: John Denver Facebook)Which of his hit songs is your favorite?

Posted by Lane Luckie KLTV on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

And now, there’s been another death in the famous family.

Henry “Hank” Deutschendorf, best known for playing baby Oscar in “Ghostbusters II” passed away last week after a long battle with mental illness, according to TMZ.

Hank played the part in the 1989 blockbuster alongside his twin brother, Will Deutschendorf.


According to People, Hank went on to appear in multiple documentaries about the “Ghostbusters” franchise.

However, Will said on Facebook that there was a lot the public didn’t know about his brother. In a heartfelt announcement about his brother’s death, Will wrote:

“Some knew him as Baby Oscar in Ghostbusters 2 or John Denver’s nephew. Others knew him as a brother, son, martial artist, teacher, uncle, or friend.

What people do not know about Hank was that he suffered from schizoaffective disorder. It is a chronic mental health condition which is a combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.”

Posted by Hank Deutschendorf on Sunday, August 3, 2014

Will said that his brother was diagnosed with the condition, which causes “hallucinations, delusions, depression, and mania,” back in 2008. He said it caused his brother suffering every day. Will wrote:

“Hank fought for his life every day. Since his diagnosis, he tried everything to alleviate the symptoms. In his daily life, he used supplements, meditation, strict dietary plans, and exercise regiments. His daily disciplines weren’t enough to allow him to live the life he wanted to live.”

Will said he decided to post about his brother in order to help raise awareness about debilitating mental illnesses. He wrote:

“It is also very important to me to immediately spread awareness about schizophrenia, bipolar, and suicide prevention. If your first reaction is to ask us what you can do, it’s to help us do everything we can to help others suffering from the same illness as Hank.”

Posted by Will Deutschendorf on Thursday, June 15, 2017

According to TMZ, Hank committed suicide by hanging himself on June 14. The website reported it was Will who “who cut him down and called 911.”

But through the tragedy, Will said there has been some light. He said that a number of families have reached out to him with their own stories since he shared Hank’s. Will wrote:

“I can’t tell you how many PMs I have received from other families that have been effected by mental illness, but it is more than I even thought imaginable.”

Hank’s family has set up a memorial fund, Hank’s Hope For A Cure, in honor of the “Ghostbusters II” actor. You can donate to the cause on the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation website.

Leave a comment

One Reply to “John Denver’s Nephew Loses His Battle with a Chronic Mental Illness Few People Know About”

  • Bob Yarmey 8 months ago

    Twinship is forever. Sad tragedy for a fine family. My twin brother was killed in Aspen in a Learjet crash in 1991. He occassionally flew John when John’s Lear was in maintenance. I had a crash in my own built LongEZ. (I lost both legs). John’s accident was related to a fuel selector relocation report I published. It was followed by the builder of the LongEZ which John had just bought and died in. Prayers for your family. I am another grieving twin.

In response to:

John Denver’s Nephew Loses His Battle with a Chronic Mental Illness Few People Know About

Your email address will not be published.

We are excited to announce Dearly has joined forces with Mama’s Uncut. Helping Mom’s across the United States answer questions on life’s big challenges.