Pastor Rick Warren asked for prayers from Saddleback Church staff members as he revealed the tragic death of his youngest child with wife Kay in an e-mail last Friday. Warren, author of the best-selling book A Purpose Driven Life, said 27-year-old son Matthew Warren killed himself earlier that morning. Matthew’s suicide happened “in a momentary wave of despair,” Warren wrote.
Matthew had battled depression, suicidal thoughts, and mental illness since birth. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday morning around 10 a.m. at his Mission Viejo, California home. Matthew’s body was discovered late Friday. An autopsy will be performed. No other details were immediately available.
“Over the past 33 years we've been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I've been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us,” Warren wrote in his e-mail. “No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now. Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today.”
“You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He'd then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them,” he continued. “But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.”
On Sunday, Warren spoke out on Twitter. "Kay and I are overwhelmed by your love, prayers, and kind words. You are all encouraging our #brokenhearts," he wrote.
The Warren have two other grown children, daughter Amy and son Josh.
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