LAKE FOREST, Calif. — The Southern California church headed by popular evangelical Pastor Rick Warren announced Saturday that Warren’s 27-year-old son has committed suicide.
Warren’s Saddleback Valley Community Church said in a statement that Matthew Warren had struggled with mental illness and deep depression throughout his life.
“Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts. 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.”
Warren, the author of the multimillion-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life,” said in an email to church staff that he and his wife had enjoyed a fun Friday evening with their son before Matthew Warren returned home to take his life in “a momentary wave of despair.”