Son of Pastor Rick Warren Commits Suicide

California Connection
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The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church, leads Christmas Eve services. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times / December 24, 2008)

(CNN) — The youngest son of Pastor Rick Warren has committed suicide, according to a family statement released Saturday.

Matthew Warren, 27, took his life following a lifelong battle with mental illness, Warren and his wife, Kay, said in the statement.

“No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now,” the statement said.

In the statement, Rick Warren said his son 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,” he wrote. “Today, after a fund evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his own life.”

As a pioneer of the megachurch movement, Warren looked to translate traditional evangelical messages for a wider audience.

Rick Warren penned “The Purpose-Driven Life,” a spiritually based self-help guide that became a mainstream best-seller. He and his wife founded Saddleback Valley Community Church, which has grown into a megachurch in Southern California.

“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,” the church said in a statement, following news of the death.


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