Demi Lovato’s father died last week at the age of 53, the culmination of a relationship with the young star that was by all accounts complicated, imperfect, and real.
Demi Lovato‘s dad Patrick died after battling cancer, and in the later years of his life, he often resorted to the media to try to get in touch with his oft-estranged daughter.
Lovato sis Dallas confirmed the bad news on Twitter this weekend, as did mom Dianna De La Garza. While all three had at times been out of contact with Patrick, it was clear that his passing affected the trio strongly despite the previous tension.
Yesterday, less than a week after Demi learned of her dad’s passing, she spoke about his death while appearing on Good Morning America, admitting that despite their struggles, she understood much of the whys involved.
“I’ve dealt with mental illness. My father dealt with mental illness … He wasn’t able to function very well in society.”
Demi has been open about fighting both an eating disorder as well as bipolar disorder, and her own battles to stay healthy — using her pain to try to help fans suffering similarly.
Dealing with the death of a parent at a young age is always difficult, but Lovato also said she is using the experience to help others with the same struggles, working on a scholarship program for treatment of mental illness:
“I’m working with Cast Recovery, a treatment center I’ve worked really, really closely with, and I have trust in their program.”
While Patrick had tried before he died to reach out to Demi through media outlets, the star admits she had difficulties dealing with her dad in general, and says:
“My father and I didn’t have the most ideal relationship … But at the end of the day, he’s still my dad. And I grew up with him, he was a wonderful person. And it’s difficult. But I’m handling it OK.”
Lovato cited “incredible support” from fans as a key component of coping with her grief.