He started reading as a toddler, played piano at age 3 and delivered a high school commencement speech when he was 10, saying he was so unusual he practically "qualified for the endangered species list."
Brandenn Bremmer was a child prodigy: He composed and recorded music, won piano competitions, breezed through college courses with an IQ of 178, and mastered everything from archery to photography, hurtling through life precociously.
Last Tuesday, Brandenn was found dead in his Nebraska home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. He was 14. He left no note.
"Sometimes we wonder if maybe the physical, earthly world didn't offer him enough challenges and he felt it was time to move on and do something great," his mother, Patricia, said from the family home in Venango, Neb.
Brandenn showed no signs of depression, she said. He had just shown his family the art for the cover of his new CD of New Age music that was about to be released.
Patricia Bremmer said she and her husband, Martin, knew their son was special from the moment he was born. The brown-haired, blue-eyed boy was reading when he was 18 months old and entering classical piano competitions by age 4.
"He was born an adult," his mother said. "We just watched his body grow bigger."
Brandenn was home-schooled. By age 6, when many boys are learning to read, he was ready to tackle high school. He enrolled in the Independent Study High School in Lincoln through the University of Nebraska, taking most of his courses by mail.
His mother said his mind was so facile that if a topic interested him, he could complete a semester's work in 10 days.
She said Brandenn "was so connected with the spiritual world. We felt he could hear people's needs and desires and their cries. We just felt like something touched him that day, and he knew he had to leave" to save others.
And so, she said, Brandenn's kidneys were donated to two people, his liver went to a 22-month-old and his heart to an 11-year-old boy.