Delilah Rene, a nationally syndicated radio host who specializes in dedicating love songs to fans who call in, broke some awful news to her Facebook followers yesterday:
Her son, Zachariah, committed suicide last Tuesday.
“My dear friends, I need to share some devastating news with you. In the early morning hours, Tuesday, October 3, my son Zachariah, took his life,” Delilah wrote to her 1.4 million online fans.
She went on to give a bit of background on Zachariah's condition:
"He was being treated, counseled, and embraced fiercely by family and friends while battling depression for some time now.
"My heart is broken beyond repair and I can not fathom how to go on... but I have to believe he is at peace with the Lord and that God will get us through."
In a January Facebook message, Delilah had said her son was autistic.
Zack was one of the host's 13 children, 10 of whom are adopted.
Another child, Sammy, passed away in 2012 due to complications from sickle cell anemia, just two years after she adopted him from a Ghanaian refugee camp in West Africa.
This is what she wrote after that personal tragedy:
“My son Sammy passed from this world today into heaven, but he left behind a piece of his amazing soul in all that met him.
"As painful as this moment is, I am so so so so so thankful that God allowed me, my family and friends to experience the essence of his soul for the past two years."
"Everyone who met him was blessed by his big heart, his silly character voices, his wonderful sense of humor and his kindness towards all."
"He was a precious, precious young man and I praise the Lord that I was allowed to be bathed in Sammy’s love as his “MommaBear”…
"We have been forever changed by having him in our lives.”
As her fans know, she has responded to an endless array of requests and dedications throughout her impressive career.
Her nightly show is recorded in her home and airs on various stations around the country, reaching millions of listeners.
Delilah wrote on Facebook shortly after confirming Zack's passing:
“I will be absent from the radio and on social media for a time as I grieve and try to process this loss with my family."
"In the meantime we’ll be playing some of my favorite shows from the recent past. I’ll look forward to my return, as you all lift me up so very much.
"Please pray for my beloved Zacky, and I will pray for all suffering from this debilitating disease called depression.”
While Delilah declines to share the specific details or the manner of his death, she did say that Zack left behind a message:
“His goodbye note did not mention sadness, anger, angst or depression, just a pressing madness about feeling like this world was not his home.”
His grieving mother adds that her son "was a faithful friend to the outcast and the troubled."
"Dozens of his friends have written to me and told me he was like a counselor to them,” says Delilah.
The mother of one friend says that “he saved her daughter’s life when she was battling depression and anorexia, insisting the girl tell her folks and going with her to do that.”
His own struggle began recently, following a December 2016 car accident.
“The event traumatized him,” she says.
A painful breakup and an illness followed suit, she said, and everything snowballed; Zack soon found himself behind in school.
“When he found out he wouldn’t graduate he spiraled into depression, and was honest about it,” says his mom.
Delilah “found him doctors, a fabulous counselor and support group,” and that seemed to have helped him turn a corner.
Just before the end, “He was doing so well ... he was looking forward to making up his missed credits, graduating and starting film school."
"He was fascinated with science fiction and time travel and began to talk about the book A Wrinkle in Time and quantum physics.”