Months after Conner died on January 30 of this 12 months, only one week earlier than his 33rd birthday, the Southern Charm star, 31, confirmed his reason behind loss of life and opened up in regards to the secret well being battle he’d been preventing for years, noting that signs of the sickness led him into the throws of habit.
“I want you could possibly have met him, as a result of he was simply essentially the most wonderful man,” Olivia informed PEOPLE on November 1. “My brother, he was very energetic and liked bringing folks collectively; he actually made associates in every single place we’d go. Even once we went on trip, we’d go down the lodge foyer to get breakfast and he knew everybody by identify. He was this 6’5″ lovely man who had the largest coronary heart.”
As Southern Attraction followers might know, Conner died amid filming on season 9. And the moments that adopted the devastating information have been captured by the cameras as Olivia’s castmates rallied around her in assist.
“Conner and I’ve all the time been very protecting of one another. So discussing this loss with a bigger viewers hasn’t been simple. However I positively need to step exterior my consolation zone and use my platform to shed some gentle and consciousness and presumably assist others, as a result of I do know I’d be honoring Conner indirectly by doing that,” she famous.
“He liked to assist folks,” Olivia continued. “He was really the one who inspired me to do the present. And I keep in mind producers asking a number of instances if they may do a scene with Conner and I, however as a result of I’m so protecting of him, I by no means wished to speak about what he was going by way of on digital camera. However he agreed to do a FaceTime name from Arizona and I’m so glad he did as a result of now I’ve that footage ceaselessly. It was such an correct portrayal of who he was, too. In the event you watch, what he’s saying is ‘Passing the torch to me.’ And I didn’t know on the time what that may imply, however I’m very, very grateful for that dialog.”
Trying again on the years-long battle that in the end led to his loss of life, Olivia revealed Conner had secretly struggled with a “longtime battle with Lyme illness.”
“It’s simply heartbreaking,” Olivia shared. “There are these holes within the healthcare system, and my brother fell into one.”
Though Conner first started experiencing Lyme illness signs at 15, he wasn’t identified till years later. And as soon as he was, he was handled with opioid painkillers for his continual ache and Xanax for his related anxiousness.
“He began relying, at a really younger age, on this prescription medication to really feel regular. And we as a household began to see this toll it took on his physique,” Olivia recalled.
Whereas Conner was as soon as a gifted golfer and entered school on a golf scholarship, he was pressured to give up the sport on account of his “debilitating” signs.
And though he was ultimately referred to a useful medication physician, he’d already sustained inside harm from the illness and grow to be hooked on the prescriptions he was suggested to take.
“Now, not solely was he getting therapy for Lyme, however he was additionally in rehab coping with getting off this medication,” Olivia mentioned. “No one wished to get higher greater than Conner did. For years he was simply out and in of rehab, making an attempt so arduous to get on the opposite facet of this … Anytime my parents would get him assist, it was as a result of he requested for it. He wished to cease this.”
One significantly difficult second in his well being battle got here after Conner broke his again leaping into the water at a rehab facility.
“He was rushed to the hospital they usually pumped him filled with ache meds, not even pondering,” Olivia defined. “That was a relapse all in itself.”
However Conner’s battle to get off the meds continued. And after declining a task on Southern Attraction to concentrate on his well being, he entered a wellness middle in Arizona.
“He was in one of the best form I’d seen him in years,” Olivia recalled. “We had all gone up there to spend Christmas with him and he was utterly clear. He simply seemed and felt nice. My brother, he had such a starvation for all times and an entrepreneurial spirit. He liked to work. He had large goals he wished to perform. And he was speaking about his plans to maneuver to Dallas, Texas, the place he already had jobs lined up.”
Sadly, nonetheless, throughout a go to to Charleston amid therapy, the worst occurred.
“We have been alleged to have dinner collectively whereas we have been right here,” Olivia mentioned. “I talked to him on the cellphone that day and we have been going to satisfy at our home in Isle of Palms. However I went there, and it didn’t appear to be anybody was dwelling, so I left.”
Fifteen minutes later, Olivia bought a cellphone name she’s going to always remember.
“My dad referred to as me and mentioned he might see on the cameras in our driveway that there was an ambulance there. And I circled to get again however by the point I bought there, the home was blocked off and no person was allowed to go in,” Olivia revealed. “I feel I stood there for, it felt like an hour — simply asking questions, not getting any solutions. And it wasn’t till the coroner pulled up that I put two and two collectively and realized he was gone.”
“It was simply so loopy,” she added. “We have been on the cellphone not even an hour earlier. After which… he’s gone.”
In the end, the coroner dominated Conner’s reason behind loss of life as an unintended fentanyl overdose.
“My brother hated speaking about his sickness,” Olivia mentioned in response. “So many individuals, even in his shut circle, didn’t find out about his Lyme. So once more, to listen to he died of a fentanyl overdose, there’s instantly going to be this assumption that he was partying. Conner wasn’t like that. This was a relapse. This was his means to outlive.”
Southern Attraction season nine airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Bravo.