According to the Orange County Register and media reports, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren released a statement to church members informing them that the youngest of his three children, Matthew Warren, 27, died on Friday—apparently due to suicide. Official sources indicate a self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday morning was the cause of death. (See full statement below.)
Few details are available at this point. The Register reported:
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church sent out an email Saturday morning to church members addressing the death of his youngest son. Matthew Warren, 27, of Mission Viejo, died Friday around 10 a.m. from what appears to be suicide, Supervising Deputy Coroner Daniel Aikin said.
Warren in his statement said:
"In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided... after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his own life."
The CT news staff is developing more information on this tragedy and will update this article as events unfold.
Here is the full statement sent by Warren:
Subject: Needing your prayers
To my dear staff,
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.
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.
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.
Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said “ Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?” but he kept going for another decade.
Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you back.