Rick Warren’s son Matthew – suicide death

Rick Warren, Saddleback Church:

To my dear staff,

Over the past 33 years we’ve been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us.

No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now. Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today.

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. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.

Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. 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?” but he kept going for another decade.

Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you back.

Pastor Rick

Warren is the author of The Purpose Driven Life, and leader of Saddleback, a California mega-church. He launched a radio show last week called Daily Hope.

Matthew Warren was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound according to the California Orange County Sheriff-Coroner’s Department.

If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts, here is an international list of  crisis lines.


About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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19 Responses to Rick Warren’s son Matthew – suicide death

  1. Mark Byron says:

    Thank you for not going for a cheap shot at Rick Warren. There but the grace of God go I, thinking of Matthew.

    The one comment that comes to mind was TPDL’s first line is “It’s not about you.” When you’re hurting, sometimes you need help and it IS about you for a bit. Maybe Matthew felt some pressure to live up to that.

  2. Bene Diction says:

    Hi Mark:

    And I.

    Kay Warren spoke briefly about Matthew in 2011,
    I am saddened for the Warren family and saddened Matthew had a gun handy.
    Virtue Online:

    “In the last two and a half years, our fourth grandchild nearly died at birth during an emergency C section. Seven weeks later, our daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo 26 hours of brain surgery with a long recovery. Our daughter had severe auto immune disease, my mother slid mentally into dementia which made me the primary caretaker. On top of all this, our youngest child struggles with bipolar disease and has found it difficult to keep going. We have hung on by a thread of a finger nail,” she told a stunned audience.

    Warren said there have been struggles in her marriage to Rick, and stress in her walk with God. Through it all she says her walk with God has become stronger, deeper, richer and more intimate. “I have great family and friends. I am embarrassed to be in need. There is no big girl pill nor can I simply chill out.” She added, “When I realize because of God’s extravagant lavish love for me, and that I am his beloved, I can survive the painful circumstances that come into our lives. ”

    She told Christianity Today she has struggled with depression and that Matthew was in crisis the day her husand was in the spotlight for the inaugural prayer.

  3. To the Warren family and friends
    May the Lord grant you His peace during this difficult time. I also suffer from depression, and yes, there are times when it is difficult to go on, but I can’t imagine the grief that you are going through. May our loving Lord just hold you tight in His compassionate arms.

  4. brano says:

    It is very sad and very distrurbing to see anyone die ,as a result of “mental illness”

    Most mental illnesses-NOT ALL…..are very treatable in this day and age!??

    I fully understand that many simple ,do not make it thru

    How tragic….

  5. Hopesome says:

    I question why:

  6. Brano says:

    I am very confident that ‘mental illness” has a proper name and a proper diagnosis

    Must be shame, in not calling “it”,for what “it” is


  7. VanPastorman says:

    Mental illness is no respector of persons. Charles Spurgeon suffered from it, and many other godly people have. This disease is a result of the Fall. Just as children are born with birth defects,and all kinds of diseases, they are sometimes plauged by chronic diseases that affect their minds. My heart goes out to the Warren family. May God hold them close as He does their son. For I believe the grace of God takes into account mental illness.

  8. Brano says:

    Grace & compassion are a given
    Why is there not a diagnosis on this “mental illness”?
    Why is Rick Warren a member of the CFR?
    {Council on Foreign Relations}
    Too many things in the dark for me!?

  9. Bene Diction says:


    I have no reason to doubt Kay Warren’s public statement that Matthew was bi-polar.

    Rick Warren stated “he struggled from birth with mental illness.”
    Children can manifest their illness in childhood, same as any other chronic disease.

    There is research that brain damage occurs from swings – and whether or not Matthew had an additional diagnosis added to bi-polar, his fathers statement seems to indicate Matthews bi-polar disorder was non-response to standard treatments. Even with good care and treatment response, most bi-polar patients suffer relapses within two year periods.

    It is interesting the the Warren family honesty about Matthews suicide has led Ed Stetzer (SBC-Lifeway) to talk about mental illness and suicide in his family and a former SBC president to acknowledge his daughters suicide.

  10. brano says:

    Open communication and understanding is always a good thing!
    Why does Rick Warren hide the fact that he is a member of the CFR?

  11. Mark Byron says:

    It doesn’t seem to be hidden, Braino. It’s just not a bullet point that he likely stresses in his ministry. You have conspiracy theorist who see the CFR as one of the nexus points of a New World Order, many of whom are in Warren’s Southern Baptist crowd. The CFR seems to invite folks who are players in the international community, and Warren’s mission work fighting AIDS has seemed to have gained some friends in secular world circles.

    Divorced from the CT rhetoric, you have a group of foreign policy wonks and international elites getting together to talk shop. It’s something of a complement that Warren’s work has risen to the point where that international in-crowd invited him in, and he’s seemingly done so without leaving the Gospel behind.

  12. brano says:

    Rick Warren has hidden the fact that he is a member of the CFR.

  13. Missing Facts says:

    I was wondering how long before you start to trash Rick. Three days since his son died. This site has hit a new low.

  14. brano says:

    Some people prefer TRUTH
    It is not always warm and fuzzy,and wrapped in tinsle

  15. Hopesome says:

    We are none of us ok – some display a greater vision of that fact than others.

    The road to healing is to find out why.

  16. Brano says:

    Like calling things for what they are!

  17. Missing Facts says:

    Based on previous history, this site really doesn’t look at the TRUTH or call things for the are. Staying on the subject of Rick. Whatever you think of him. it is his time now to grieve. It is selfish to take shots.

  18. Hopesome says:

    Missing Facts: Grief is something we all feel for one who has suffered for so long in such a heinous way. Grief that he had to, grief that no one could reach his depth of depression, and grief that we are so inadequate when we really need not to be. You have to be able to take the rough with the smooth in this life so I am sure Mr Warren being as ‘out there’ as he is is more than able to take care of the rough should it come his way be it in ok tmes or not so ok times for it is in those challenging times we find both our strengths and weakness’s and hopefully align both in a more harmonious direction.

    Brano truth is not always palatable and thats why so many hide behind lies and deception. To seek truth is painful and at times agonising but we do need it (before we all end up following ‘a leader’ that would have us ‘fall of a cliff’ without batting an eye. One problem we have is that a lot of people can’t handle truth or more importantly the reality of it so we hedge round it, we dilly and dally around its circumference and get to a ‘truth’ that we can live with, ie: half truths! It annoys me but at the same time makes me more determined to press on to find out WHY (WE ARE NOT OK!)

  19. Baylee says:

    Suicide is such a awful thing that our culture really didn’t want to talk about or deal with.

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