(Photo : courtesy Saddleback Valley Community Church)
(Photo : Creative Commons)
A few more details have been released about the apparent suicide of Matthew Warren, the 27-year-old son of Pastor Rick Warren, the popular evangelical leader of the Saddleback Valley Community mega-church in Southern California.
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The Orange County Sheriff-Coroner's Department has announced Matthew Warren was found dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his home in Mission Viejo, Calif.
Supervising Sheriff's Deputy Dan Aikin told reporters the estimated time of death was 10 a.m. Friday morning, NBC News reported.
Aikin also said the sheriff's department had initially been called to the home in the late afternoon, at about 5:15 p.m.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
In an email sent to church staff Saturday morning, Pastor Warren said his youngest son had committed suicide.
Pastor Warren went on in the email to describe Matthew as "an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many...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 Matthew had also suffered from deep depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life.
"Despite the best healthcare available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled," the statement said. "After a fun evening together with Kay [Warren's wife] and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life."
"No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now," Pastor 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."
Saddleback's website says that about 20,000 people attend weekend services at the church.
The 59-year-old pastor is the author of "The Purpose Driven Life," which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, the church's website says --- making the book the bestselling hardback non-fiction book of all time and the second most-translated book in the world, after the Bible.