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Orange County Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren's son commits suicide

April 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The son of a prominent Orange County pastor committed suicide, the Orange County Coroner confirmed to Eyewitness News Saturday.

Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren's son, 27-year-old Matthew Warren, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday night at his home in Mission Viejo, according to the coroner.

Rick Warren addressed his son's death in a statement to the Saddleback congregation, saying his son suffered from mental illness and depression.

"In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided," he said.

Rick Warren also said he and his wife, Kay, had spent an enjoyable evening with their son before he died. Rick Warren remembered his son as "an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man."

About 20,000 attend Saddleback Church, according to the church's website. Several members of the church gathered Saturday evening for a service, and churchgoers who knew Matthew Warren shared their memories.

"Matthew was just a bright, energetic, very intelligent kid that we loved," said Steve Rutenbar. "Everybody loved Matthew for his talents and for his bright light."

During the evening service, grieving worshippers offered words and prayers in support of the pastor.

Rick Warren is the author of "The Purpose Driven Life." In 2008, Saddleback sponsored a presidential forum with frontrunners Barack Obama and John McCain. A similar forum was supposed to be held for the 2012 presidential campaign, but Warren canceled it, saying the campaign had become too uncivil.

Plans for Matthew Warren's burial were not mentioned in his father's statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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