Rick Warren’s Son Commits Suicide

Rick Warren, the well-known pastor of Saddleback Church, has lost his son to suicide.

Matthew Warren, 27, struggled with mental illness for many years according to reports.

In a statement, the church provided the following information: “At 27 years of age, Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many. Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts … We ask everyone to join us in praying for the entire Warren family and that God’s comfort and peace will be with them as they deal with this difficult situation.”

Pastor Rick Warren announced that his son took his own life in an understandably emotional email to members of his evangelical Christian megachurch in Lake Forest, Calif. Warren wrote that “No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now … 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.” The email also noted that “after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.” Rick and Kay Warren have been married for over 30 years.

Besides presiding over his high-profile church that he founded in 1980, Rick Warren is the best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life and other religious-themed inspirational books. His Los Angeles-area church is said to be the eight-largest in the US. About 20,000 worshippers attend services at the church each Sunday.

[Image credit: Steve Jurvetson]