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Matthew Warren, the son of evangelical pastor Rick Warren, has committed suicide. He was 27-years-old. His father said he battled with mental illness all his life in a statement.
“At 27 years of age, Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many,” Warren, the leader of the Saddleback Church in California, told his church members in a letter, reports The Huffington Post. “Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.”
According to USA Today, Supervising deputy Dan Aikin of the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner's Department told NBC News that Matthew died of a gunshot wound Friday morning.
In his letter, Warren wrote that “this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life.”
Warren added, "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?'”
He also remembered his youngest son as “an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate man.”
Warren and his wife Kay “often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of his relentless pain,” he wrote.
KTLA reports that an autopsy will take place on Tuesday to the cause of death.
Warren is best known as the author of The Purpose-Driven Life.