Matthew Warren, son of well-known Southern Californian pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life” Rick Warren, committed suicide on Friday, April 5th in his home located in Mission Viejo from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 27 years old and the youngest of Rick Warren’s three children.
The autopsy conducted on April 8th confirmed that his death was a suicide. In a letter Rick Warren sent to his congregation’s staff of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, Warren commented about the day of the suicide saying, “Today after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his own life.”
Rick Warren continued saying, “Only those closest knew that [Matthew] struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, even suicidal thoughts.” He said this citing that his suicide was most likely due to his mental struggles that he had major part of his life and although he was treated with the best doctors and care, it is something that remained with him.
Regardless of Matthew Warren’s internal struggles, he pushed through as Rick Warren described, “Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of his 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.”
The death comes as a shock to many since Matthew’s struggles have never really been made aware to the public eye. Many well-known religious leaders have announced their support through social networks, among those was Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, who also lost an adult son in 2008 due to a car accident.
Despite all the overwhelming support, Rick Warren also addressed people who are voicing negative comments toward the Warren family and says, “Grieving is hard. Grieving as public figures, harder. Grieving while haters celebrate your pain, hardest.”
Church members conducted special prayers for the family during their Sunday services even though the Warrens were not in attendance. But members stated that they shared in their grief since they were all like family.
As of now, no official announcement has been made regarding his funeral. Through the days that lay ahead for the Warrens will not be easy, millions continue to show support in this tough time.