Embattled former megachurch pastor Isaac Hunter committed suicide at his apartment in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Tuesday morning, officials said.
Hunter, the 36-year-old son of one of President Barack Obama’s faith advisers, Pastor Joel Hunter, has faced legal and marital challenges over the past year.
Altamonte Springs police said that he died from “what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” and his death is being investigated as a suicide, The Orlando Sentinel reported.
Police responded to the apartment around 10:45 a.m. where they discovered Hunter’s body after one of Hunter’s brothers reported a text message to police that mentioned suicide.
Northland, A Church Distributed, where his father Joel Hunter is senior pastor, released a statement on its website Tuesday asking parishioners to “pray for the Hunter family.”
“By now you may have heard that Pastor Joel and Becky’s son Isaac Hunter died today. All of us are grieving for the Hunter family, and we will deeply miss Isaac. Words cannot express the sorrow we’re feeling,” the statement from Pastor Vernon Rainwater said.
It continued, “We love this family and are so grateful for the impact they have had on each of our lives. I have loved Isaac since he was a child, and I know this … Isaac loved Jesus. And we are assured of his continuing relationship with Christ now in heaven (Romans 8:38-39).”
Isaac Hunter’s former employer, Summit Church in Orlando, Fla., also released a statement from Pastor Jeff Kern, confirming the death and mourning the “tragic loss.”
The statement said Hunter left behind three children and his wife, Rhonda.
Hunter had been immersed in controversy that started late last year when resigned from Summit, the church he founded, in November 2012, after admitting to having an extramarital affair.
His wife then filed a domestic violence petition against him, claiming that he was suicidal and erratic and that he abused drugs and alcohol, The Orlando Sentinel reported.
Hunter denied those claims.
In a purported suicide letter uncovered by family members last year, Hunter wrote that he wanted to be “remembered as a person who loved his children, his parents, his brothers, and his best friends,” but that he feared he would “love them better” in his absence.
“I have become what I never wished to be, a burden on those I love the most,” the letter continued.
The former pastor filed for divorce from his wife on Oct. 4, 2013, after 13 years of marriage; the divorce was not final at the time of his death.
Hunter founded Summit Church in 2002 with about 300 members; today the church has about 5,000 members, the Daily Mail reported.
Featured image via Summit Church