Editor's note: To see our new post about the remarkable first service at Saddleback Church on Sunday morning (including the sermon topic Rick Warren had requested days before the death of his son)...click here.
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24: Pastor Rick Warren speaks at The Elton John AIDS Foundation and UNAIDS breakfast at the Russell Senate Office Building on July 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Getty Images North America)
The youngest son of California Pastor Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," has committed suicide, according to a statement released by Warren's Saddleback Valley Community Church.
This undated photo provided by the Saddleback Valley Community Church shows Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren. (AP Photo/Saddleback Valley Community Church)
"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," Warren wrote.
The statement described Warren's son "an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man" who had been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts for years.
"In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided," the pastor added. "Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his own life."
The message continues: "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."
Internationally recognized for his "Purpose Driven" books, Warren delivered the invocation at President Obama's 2009 inauguration.
His most recent tweet came just six hours ago, as of this article's publication. It asks that God's will be done "as it is in Heaven."