Apr 06, 2013 07:29 PM EDT
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New York best-seller Pastor Rick Warren's son Matthew has committed suicide. The shocking news reverberated across the Christian community and among Warren’s church, the famous Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.
Warren rose to international fame after penning his best-seller The Purpose Driven Life, has expressed his sadness over the death of his 27-year-old son, who has long suffered from mental illness.
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Warren wrote a letter to the Saddleback Church staff in an email this morning, stating that this son had passed away..
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.
On Saturday, around 11 am, Warren posted the following message on his Facebook account.
"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."
Since the announcement of his son's death, Warren has received an outpouring of love and support on his Facebook page.
His friends and followers replied with outpouring support on Facebook.
"Praying for strength for you and your family Pastor Rick. Your precious Matthew is at peace now in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. We love you!," Facebook user Victoria Hoffman wrote on Saturday.
"We grieve with you as your church family," Leslie Yeung wrote on Facebook.
"Praying for you and Kay. So very sorry for the loss of your son here on earth, but rejoicing that he is now in the arms of our Savior. Happy. Whole. At peace. God's love and peace to you all," wrote Laurie Halbrooks.
"May God be with you & your family in this unimaginable time Pastor Rick. Your Saddleback family is with you as well. We love you. Peace be with you," wrote Michael Gargano on the social network.
Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life has sold over 30 million copies around the world, making him a New York Times bestselling author.
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