Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Son of US evangelist kills himself

Matthew Warren, the son of pastor Rick Warren, struggled with deep depression, his father said (AP/Saddleback Valley Community Church)
Pastor Rick Warren's son Matthew has committed suicide (AP)

The son of popular US evangelist Rick Warren has killed himself.

Rick Warren drew national attention in 2009 when he gave the invocation at President Barack Obama's historic inauguration. He is the author of the multimillion-selling book The Purpose Driven Life.

His Saddleback Valley Community Church in California said in a statement that 27-year-old 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."

Rick Warren 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".

Church spokeswoman Kristin Cole said he died on Friday night.

Over the years, Matthew Warren had been treated by America's best doctors, had received counselling and medication and been the recipient of numerous prayers from others, his father said.

Rick Warren founded Saddleback Church in 1980 and over the years watched it grow to 20,000 members.

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