By BosNewsLife Americas Service
LAKE FOREST, USA (BosNewsLife)– The youngest son of famed American Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay, has committed suicide at the age of 27 following a long struggle with mental illness and depression, his father and church confirmed early Sunday, April 6.
The evangelical Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Fores, California, said Matthew Warren took his own life at his Mission Viejo home.
He struggled with mental illness, deep depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life, the church added in a statement, after his body was found late Friday, April 4.
Rick Warren, the author of the multimillion-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, added in an email to church staff that he and his wife had enjoyed a fun Friday evening, April 4, with their son before he returned home to take his life in ‘a momentary wave of despair.'”
No more details were given and police officials declined to comment on the exact reason of death.
“Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life,” Rick Warren and his Saddleback Church said.
“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?'”, added Pastor Warren in a statement.
In one of his latest messages on the Twitter website, monitored by BosNewsLife, Rick Warren wrote: “We pray ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ since in heaven God’s will is done always…On earth,it’s done rarely.”
Matthew Warren went on to live another decade, reaching out to help others in need, according to Christians familiar with his life.
His father founded Saddleback Church in 1980 and watched it grow to 20,000 members, according to his website.
Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, began by holding Bible studies for people who weren’t regular churchgoers.
As Saddleback grew 105 kilometers (65 miles) southeast of Los Angeles, it added several other campuses and ministries around Southern California.
The church says it now offers over 200 community ministries and support groups for parents, families, children, couples, prisoners, addicts, and people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, depression and other illnesses.
In 2008, the church sponsored a presidential forum with Barack Obama and John McCain. Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney were invited to a similar forum last fall, but Warren canceled it several days beforehand, saying the campaign had become too uncivil.
The church has also said it supports the struggle against persecution of Christians.
Warren was named the top newsmaker of the year for 2009 by the Religion Newswriters Association.
He gained attention that year with his invocation at Obama’s inauguration, as well as with comments he made in the aftermath of California’s Proposition 8, which overturned gay marriage.
Matthew Warren, the youngest of their three children, was an active worker in the church and related mission activities, his father said.
“You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man,” Warren wrote. “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.”
Another pastor was to preach in Warren’s place on Sunday, April 6. as part of a previously planned sermon series, church spokeswoman Kristin Cole told The Associated Press (AP) news agency.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
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