It has been reported that on 5th April 2015 American Dermatologist, researcher, author and pioneer in the cosmetic use of botulinum toxins and dermal fillers, Dr. Fredric Brandt sadly took his own life at his home in Florida. Dr. Brandt or ‘Fred’ as he was known to many, is reported to have been suffering from an illness, which was later explained as depression, for which he was seeking treatment in the days and weeks before his suicide.
Born, Fredric Sheldon Brandt in 1949, the youngest of two boys, to Jewish sweet shop owners in Newark, New Jersey, Fred was a high achiever as a High School student, participating in many clubs, from Spanish and debating to science and arts, plus winning awards before he left school. Fred obtained his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College in Pennsylvania before completing an internal medicine residency at New York University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, and then settling on a dermatology residency at the University of Miami. It was here that he later called home, setting up his dermatology practice in Miami, Florida in 1982, adding one in New York in 1998, which began his journey to celebrity status and clientele which included the likes of Madonna. She is quoted as saying of Dr. Brandt; “If I have nice skin, I owe a lot to him”.
Dr. Brandt went on to establish the Brandt Dermatology Research Institute at his Miami practice. This is where much of the early and continued clinical research on the protocols for the cosmetic use of botulinum toxins, dermal fillers, lasers and other cosmetic ingredients is performed with a specialist staff of research professionals. Dr. Brandt’s Institute was instrumental in the FDA approval of BOTOX® Cosmetic, Dysport®, Restylane®, Perlane®, Sculptra® and several other cosmetic products, and continues to be selected to perform FDA-approved pivotal clinical trials for pharmaceutical and medical device companies. A legacy to the industry that the aptly named ‘Baron of Botox’ and ‘King of Collagen’ can be truly honoured for; let’s hope his good work can continue under his name for many years to come.
As well as authoring numerous peer-reviewed clinical papers, Dr. Brandt also authored two books, 10 Minutes/10 Years: Your Definitive Guide to a Beautiful and Youthful Appearance and Age-less: The Definitive Guide to Botox, Collagen, Lasers, Peels, and Other Solutions for Flawless Skin and hosted a radio show on SiriusXM Radio called ‘Ask Dr. Brandt’.
Famed for being as much an artist as a physician, Dr. Brandt was known for seeing more than 40 patients a day as he helped many to sculpt their younger appearance. He pioneered his own skincare line - dr. brandt® skincare – following a love of science which started at Sloan-Kettering, where as a student he specialised in the research and treatment of leukaemia. There he dedicated his studies to using natural ingredients to fight against the growth of cancer and studied the benefits of green tea, vitamin A and vitamin C, which became fundamental in his own skincare range - he was in fact the first to introduce green tea to skincare.
The man himself was known as a philanthropist, an art lover, who amassed quite a collection including works by Damien Hirst, and a dog lover, often seen out walking his various rescue dogs near his Miami home. Those who knew him well use words like gentle and kind to describe a man who always seemed to have time to talk to people.
The media has reported that a recent comedy show by Tina Fey which aired on Netflix, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt which featured actor Martin Short in the character of Dr. Franff, believed to be a parody of Dr. Brandt, had upset and unsettled the doctor, although a spokesperson has denied that this was the cause of his suicide. Many have condemned the representation, a grotesque exaggeration of Dr. Brandt, as unnecessary, cruel and ‘bullying’; the portrayal was certainly said to have bothered Fred in his fragile state. Sadly it has been revealed in a Police report that Dr. Brandt was known to be having suicidal thoughts in the days leading up to this tragic event and that his own psychiatrist, with whom he was having daily therapy sessions and taking prescribed medication, had asked a close friend to stay at his house to help monitor him. Unfortunately you cannot watch someone 24/7 and it was the friend who found Dr. Brandt the following morning after staying over the night before.
Since the news broke, the world of aesthetics, both professional and patient has shared their sadness at his loss.
Independent Cosmetic Consultant, Wendy Lewis, who has lead many of the online tributes to Dr. Brandt said; "to understand the contributions of Fred Brandt, one must look back at where the field of injectables was about 15 years ago. Fred elevated the specialty to an art form, and raised the bar for his peers. He helped make BOTOX® a household word and added a new level of sophistication to anti-aging treatments. He was a pioneer, a great teacher, with creativity that was legendary, which was not lost of the high profile patients who loved him. Yet, with all of those accolades, he remained humble and treated his colleagues with kindness and respect. Fred was the real deal, and he will be missed by all."
Dr. Patrick Treacy, Chairman of the Irish Association of Cosmetic Doctors, referred to the ‘passing of an American icon’. He said; “I was saddened to hear of the news of the tragic death of Dr. Fredric Brandt last night and aware that the world of cosmetic dermatology will not be the same without him. He was a pioneer who created his own cosmetic brand, launched his own radio show, yet took time out of his busy schedule to lecture to his colleagues. He was aspirational and innovative and changed an industry that was surgically banal and sometimes lacking in identity before his guidance. He will be missed… ”
Dr. Mark Hamilton said on Twitter; ”Very sad to hear the news about the death of Dr. Fredric Brandt. Met him several times. A unique, quiet and kind man. Aesthetics will miss him!”
American Dermatologist Dr. Robert A. Weiss also took to Twitter and said; “So sorry to hear about respected colleague Fred Brandt's passing. Truly exceptional doc and will be greatly missed.”
So much was the outpouring of sentiment on Twitter (and Facebook) that #DrBrandt began trending on the sites and a multitude of comments were posted on his own Facebook page as colleagues, friends and patients all shared their memories of the man and the sadness of his loss. Many of his industry peers had only recently seen him at the annual AAD conference in San Francisco and had no idea of his inner turmoils. As Wendy said following contributions to a post made on her own Facebook page about his passing; “It is tragic that this outpouring of love, respect and affection came too late.”
Held in such high regard by all who were fortunate to know him, meet him, listen to him or who have just heard about him, the loss of both the talent and the personality of Dr. Fredric Brandt will be felt by the cosmetic community for some time to come.