“My heart is shattered [and] to write this feels so wrong, and I don’t even know what to say,” wrote model Meredith Mickelson when mourning the death of her brother, Daniel Mickelson. The 23-year-old passed away over the Fourth of July weekend, and Meredith said that she lost just her brother but her “best friend [and] the other half of my heart.” The sudden passing of this actor/model prompted many big names to send their condolences (Patrick Schwarzenegger and Jordyn Woods commented they were “praying” for Meredith, while model Amelia Hamlin commented, “I love you forever, Daniel”) and pay respects to Daniel. A cause of death wasn’t immediately shared.
“I remember that time we sat on the couch and spent the whole day coming up with our own secret language that we continued to speak every time we saw each other,” wrote Kaia Gerber in an Instagram Story, per E! News. “I wish we could go back there. I wish we were still talking in sentences that probably annoyed everyone else but made us crack up every time.” Paris Hilton, Lottie Moss, and others also mourned Daniel’s death. As Daniel’s family, friends reflect on the impact he made, here’s what we know.
Daniel Mickelson Was An Actor
Born on Oct. 4, 1997, Daniel was once an aspiring actor. His IMDB lists that he played the role of Billy in the 2019 movie The Killer Clown Meets the Candy Man, a horror-comedy mashup that pits fictionalized versions of John Wayne Gacy and Dean Corll against Charles Manson. That same year, Daniel portrayed Billy on Mani, an American web series that aired on Brat TV and starred Piper Rockelle as Sky. “Sky’s parents hire an unconventional nanny named Mani to look after her,” per IMDB. “They form an unlikely bond as Mani helps Sky and her friends learn life lessons from the art of roasting to how to nail the perfect dude handshake.” Daniel’s Billy had a recurring role in season 4.
Daniel Mickelson Had Just Launched A Fashion Line
“HERE YE HERE YE!! So I started a brand that I’m super pumped about!!” Daniel wrote in January 2021. The brand was Kids Back Home, a line of streetwear “for the kids back home.” Daniel’s sister, Meredith, helped model the brand’s first run of outfits. Daniel, in the launch announcement, said that he had been “piecing it together for the last year now” and that he couldn’t wait to “spread the good vibes on a bigger scale.”
“The brand is super fun and here to make ya feel happy n’ comfy while wearing some cool stuff that you’ll look damn good in,” he wrote. “So sit back, relax, and get yours cause this stuff knocks the tennis balls off granny’s rocker. The first pieces came out super dope. Learn about some surprising facts AND hidden benefits of KBH: 1. It’s reported that Christopher Columbus had his whole boat crew in KBH hoodies as they plunged through the icy waters that cold night in 1492 2. KBH hats increase stamina and reduce social anxiety. 3. It’s said that men “get lucky” twice as often when wearing KBH vs. leading competitors. (sweatshirt shoot coming very soon).”
He Had A Girlfriend At The Time Of His Death
Daniel’s last Instagram post was on June 28, 2021. In a pair of pics, the actor/designer crouched down, wearing only shorts and a necklace. “Tarzan,” he captioned the shots. His Instagram was full of shots of him working out, posing without a short, and getting close to his girlfriend, Maddie Haley, a student nurse at Auburn University. “Happy birthday to the sweetest soul there is,” Daniel posted on Aug. 7, 2020. “My life truly got brighter the second you came into it. Thank you for showing me what love is, baby.”
After Daniel’s death, Maddie penned a heartfelt tribute to him online. “Words can’t even describe how I’m feeling right now. Last night I lost my best friend in the whole world,” she wrote. “I feel like my heart [has] been ripped out of my chest. Daniel, you were the kindest person I have ever met. You lit up every room with your contagious smile and never failed to make anyone happy. There wasn’t one day that went by where you didn’t go out of your way to make me feel special and loved. … Everything I do now is for you. Now I have a guardian angel by my side for the rest of my life. I am going to make you so proud. I love you forever, babe.”