Rick Warren, the well-known pastor at Saddleback Valley Community Church, relayed a tragic message to his congregation tonight:
His youngest son Matthew committed suicide on Friday at the age of 27, killing himself via self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Warren passed along the sad news this evening at his church in Lake Forest, California.
"Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many," the church said in a statement. "Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.”
Warren is the author of many Christian books, most notably "The Purpose Driven Life."
He founded the eighth largest church in the nation in 1980.
"No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now," the pastor said in a statement.
"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."