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News of the death of Rick Warren’s son, Matthew Warren, has generated an enormous outpouring of sympathy and tributes on social media.

Tragically the 27-year-old son of Pastor Rick Warren is said to have taken his life after a lifelong battle with mental illness. The news of his death came early Saturay morning. In a statement from Warren, he said this:

“Over the past 33 years we’ve been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us.

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.

You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them.

But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.

Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of 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.

Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you back.

Pastor Rick”

Followers, friends, family and dignitaries took to Twitter to express their condolences:

Bishop T. D. Jakes- “My heart is broken over the sad news of @RickWarren and @KayWarren1 losing their son today. Please keep them in prayer.”

Kirk Franklin – “Praying for @RickWarren..losing your child has to be the most painful thing in the world.. No matter how much Jesus you have.”

Bishop John Francis- ‏”@RickWarren I and @RuachCityChurch will be praying for you & your wife through this difficult time.”

This afternoon the family announced that it has opted for a private memorial service.