"He was depressed," the source close to Brandt says. "Did the show upset him? Yes. It was a mean characterization. He was a human being, no one would like that. It was making fun of him for the way he looked and it was mean and it was bullying. It was an illness, he suffered from depression. He always seemed like the life of the party, he would sing and rap his way through the day."
"It wasn't the only thing troubling him, it was just one factor," the source adds. "It definitely hurt him. He was absolutely upset, who would want that? But that was not why he committed suicide. But it didn't help."
In Kimmy Schmidt, released in March, Jane Krakowski's character Jacqueline Voorhees is a frequent client of plastic surgeon Dr. Grant (pronounced "Franff"), played by Martin Short, and the script ridicules his eccentric behavior and appearance.
"He was the nicest, kindest man alive, and they poke fun of him? Why? Because he looks different," the source tells PEOPLE. "Does Tina Fey teach her daughter to make fun of people? I don't think so. As a mother, I wonder if that's what she teaches her daughter. If someone looks different from you, do you make fun of them?"
Another source confirms Brandt was "definitely hurt" by the characterization, and the dermatologist had told the source, "It wasn't nice, what they did."
Fey, Netflix and Short have not yet returned requests for comment.
Celebrities like Kelly Ripa and Joy Behar have Tweeted about the loss of Dr. Brandt.
My heart is breaking for the loss of Dr. Fredric Brandt. My friend. You will be missed forever and in my heart even longer.— Kelly Ripa (@KellyRipa) April 6, 2015
Dr. Brandt was one of the sweetest, nicest, most generous people I have had the good fortune to meet & work with. He will be sorely missed.— Joy Behar (@JoyVBehar) April 6, 2015
Reporting by BECKY RANDEL