Rick Warren's youngest son, Matthew, commits suicide
Matthew Warren, 27, died Friday after struggling with mental illness for much of his life, according to a number of reports.
"Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many," Saddleback Church, the Southern California megachurch headed by Warren, says in a statement.
"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 writes in an e-mail to church staff that Matthew had received counseling over the years and took medication to control his depression, but ultimately that wasn't enough.
"No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now," Warren writes. "[Matthew] 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.
"In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided."
Warren is the author of the best-selling book "The Purpose-Driven Life." He hosted presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain at a forum at Saddleback in 2008 and gave the invocation at Obama's first inauguration in 2009.