Autopsy Finds Son of Pastor Rick Warren Shot Himself to Death

Matthew Warren
Matthew Warren

An autopsy has determined that the son of popular U.S. evangelical pastor Rick Warren, found dead in California on Friday, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an Orange County Sheriff's spokesman said on Monday.

Rick Warren said in a letter to staff of his Orange County-based Saddleback Valley Community Church over the weekend that Matthew Warren, 27, committed suicide after a lifelong struggle with depression and mental illness.

Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said an autopsy conducted on Monday found that the Matthew Warren had died at around 10 a.m. PST on Friday at his home in Mission Viejo. He said the cause of death was determined to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Along with leading the Saddleback Church based in Lake Forest, Calif., Rick Warren is author of the best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life and delivered an invocation at President Barack Obama's first inauguration in January 2009.

In his letter to staff at the church, Warren said his son took his own life in "a momentary wave of despair at his home" after a "fun evening" with his parents.

The pastor described his son as 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 said his son struggled with mental illness, depression and suicidal thoughts all of his life.

"In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided," he said.

Saddleback, one of the largest evangelical churches in the United States, is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. About 20,000 people attend weekly services at the main campus in Lake Forest and at seven other churches throughout southern California.


Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Vicki Allen and Tim Dobbyn

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

It's a NEW YEAR! Get ready for a NEW YOU!

  • New Year Discounts On Book Bundles & Gifts: Click Here to view all our bundles and save up to 72%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • Go Deeper with God in a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all eight of our free courses. Topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Anointed Woman Of God: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Never Stop Praying - Prayer Changes Everything! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • New Year - New You - Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for two years for Only $29.97 and get two free gifts. Gift #1 The Harbinger. Gift #2 The Harbinger II. Both books are by New York Times Best-Selling author Jonathan Cahn. View Offer

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective