You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

U.S.

  • 1 woman dead in New Jersey rowhouse fire
      JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Authorities say one woman is dead in a rowhouse fire in New Jersey. Jersey City police and fire department spokesman Bob McHugh says the blaze broke out in the home’s basement at around 10 p.
  • California man who hoarded snakes is sentenced
     SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Southern California teacher who had 400 snakes in his home, many of them dead or dying, pleaded guilty Thursday to failing to provide proper care for them.
  • Gunman demanded to know ex-wife’s whereabouts
      SPRING, Texas – A man charged with killing four children and their parents forced his way into the family’s suburban Houston home, tied them up and shot them in the back of the head when they refused to tell him where
Advertisement
Associated Press
Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren, has committed suicide after struggling with mental illness and deep depression.

Pastor Rick Warren says his son committed suicide

AP
FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2010, file photo, Pastor Rick Warren acknowledges audience members during the Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Service in Lake Forest, Calif. Saddleback Valley Community Church said in a statement Saturday, April 6, 2013, that Warren's 27-year-old son, Matthew Warren, has committed suicide after struggling with mental illness and deep depression. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (AP) — Popular evangelical Pastor Rick Warren asked members of his Southern California church for prayers as he and his family coped with the apparent suicide of his 27-year-old son.

The church said on Saturday that Matthew Warren took his own life at his Mission Viejo home.

Matthew Warren struggled with mental illness, deep depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life, Saddleback Valley Community Church said in a statement, after his body was found Friday night.

"Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life," the church said.

Allison O'Neal, a supervising deputy coroner for Orange County, declined to release the cause and manner of death pending an autopsy of the young man.

Rick Warren, the author of the multimillion-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life," said in an email to church staff that he and his wife had enjoyed a fun Friday evening with their son. But their son then returned home to take his life in "a momentary wave of despair."

Over the years, Matthew Warren had been treated by America's best doctors, had received counseling and medication and been the recipient of numerous prayers from others, his father said.

"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?'" Warren recalled.

Despite that, he said, his son lived for another decade, during which he often reached out to help others.

"You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man," Warren wrote. "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."

Another pastor will preach in Warren's place on Sunday as part of a previously planned sermon series, church spokeswoman Kristin Cole said.

The elder Warren founded Saddleback Church in 1980, according to his biography on the church website, and over the years watched it grow to 20,000 members. He and his wife, Kay, began by holding Bible studies for people who weren't regular churchgoers.

Matthew Warren was the youngest of their three children.

As Saddleback grew over the years, it spread out from its Lake Forest headquarters, 65 miles southeast of Los Angeles, adding several other campuses and ministries around Southern California.

The church says it now offers more than 200 community ministries and support groups for parents, families, children, couples, prisoners, addicts, and people living with HIV, depression and other illnesses.

In 2008, the church sponsored a presidential forum with Barack Obama and John McCain. Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney were invited to a similar forum last fall, but Warren canceled it several days beforehand, saying the campaign had become too uncivil.

Warren was named the top newsmaker of the year for 2009 by the Religion Newswriters Association. He gained attention that year with his invocation at Obama's inauguration, as well as with comments he made in the aftermath of California's Proposition 8, which overturned gay marriage.

Advertisement