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Rick Warren says son struggled with mental illness all his life

April 06, 2013|By Stephen Ceasar

In his statement to his congregation about his son’s death, Pastor Rick Warren talked about how “only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark  holes of depression, even suicidal thoughts.”

Matthew Warren, 27, died Saturday after battling depression for much of his life, the leader of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest said in his statement.

“Today after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his own life,” Warren said of his son.

He described Matthew Warren as a “kind, gentle and compassionate man” with a “brilliant intellect” who was sensitive to the needs of others.

“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 elder Warren is a world-famous evangelist and bestselling author of "The Purpose Driven Life." He is perhaps most widely known for having delivered the invocation at President Obama's inauguration in 2008.

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stephen.ceasar@latimes.com | Twitter: @stephenceasar

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