Rick Warren released an emotional message to his congregation in which he paid tribute to his son Matthew Warren, who committed suicide.
Warren's statement came as other high-profile religious leaders offered their support to the famed pastor.
In his statement, 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.”
Among those offering condolences was Harvest Christian Fellowship leader Greg Laurie, who tweeted followers to join him in a prayer for Warren and his wife, Kay.
Laurie, whose adult son Christopher was killed in a 2008 car crash, noted on his blog that he had experienced similar pain. "At times like these, there really are no words, but there is the Word," he wrote.
The Christian Post reported that Laurie was joined by a host of other religious leaders, including Will Graham, the grandson of the Rev. Billy Graham.
The elder Warren is a world-famous evangelist and bestselling author of "The Purpose Driven Life." He delivered the invocation at President Obama's inauguration in 2008.
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