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Son Of 'The Purpose Driven Life' Pastor Rick Warren Has Committed Suicide

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Saddleback Valley Community Church Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback in Lake Forest, California. Warren is the author of the popular Christian book, 'The Purpose-Driven Life.' (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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The son of evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay has committed suicide, according to a statement from Saddleback Valley Community Church.Matthew Warren, 27, took his own life on Friday night, CBS Los Angeles reports. Warren was described as "an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many."

The church's statement said Warren had suffered from deep depression and suicidal thoughts for some time, but treatment didn't seem to help: "Despite the best healthcare available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life."

Pastor Rick Warren founded Saddleback Church in 1980, and he is also the author of the massively popular book "The Purpose-Driven Life." But Warren is more than a religious figure. Both Barack Obama and John McCain visited his church during the 2008 presidential campaign. Rick Warren was selected to do the invocation at Obama's presidential inauguration (which stirred controversy because of Warren's conservative, anti-gay views).

Matthew Warren was the youngest son in his family. The church released a statement saying, "We ask everyone to join us in praying for the entire Warren family and that God’s comfort and peace will be with them as they deal with this difficult situation."

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If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

Related:
Gettin' Preachy With It: Pastor Rick Warren Kicks Off Religious Festival for Youth
Rick Warren Persuades Obama and McCain to Meet at Lake Forest Megachurch