Tragic: Pastor Rick Warren announces son's suicide to congregation

Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., announced in a letter today that his son, Matthew, 27, committed suicide.

In his letter, Warren wrote that “after a fun evening together with [wife] Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.” He also recalled a time years ago when Matthew asked him, “Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?”

Warren had sent this tweet earlier today.

Our thoughts and prayers too are with his family and friends.

  • LuCha

    I can’t imagine. Rest now dear son.

  • Judy Yeager Sturges Bradstrom

    Thoughts and prayers with the family.

  • Spatial Awareness

    Suicide forever changes a family, especially a parent. My mother never recovered emotionally after my sibling committed suicide. You learn to move forward but never understand why they chose death over help.

    I hope the Warren family finds peace through prayer and comfort in the message of Jesus Christ.

    • stellatruman

      I have had two members of my extended family take their lives and I know it is brutal to the survivors.

      • Cal

        I’ve had two cousins (two of three sisters) attempt to take their own lives. The eldest did succeed eventually. The youngest (who had tried previously) seems to have gotten past her issues with the help of family and the Lord. All three sisters were psychologically abused (along with their father, my uncle who has since passed on due to cancer) by their mother when they were children. It is absolutely heart-rending. Both my mother (when she was younger and before I was born) and my brother have suffered from depression. I worry about my brother every day because he seems to be falling in with a crowd and lifestyle that often does not end well. I pray every day that he wakes up in time. Depression and suicide are not funny; they are serious, and people need help and compassion.

        (By the way, I’m not ciriticing you or anything, I just felt the need to share my two cents)

    • [email protected]

      One doesn’t “chose” death over help!! Sometimes DNA is more powerful than all the love, care and medical intervention. What would YOU do if you were worn out from unrelenting mental anguish and all avenues had been exhausted?

      • Spatial Awareness

        Q- “What would YOU do if you were worn out from unrelenting mental anguish and all avenues had been exhausted?”

        A-Seek help and NOT KILL MYSELF

        P.S. “all avenues” are NEVER exhausted.

  • $45875941

    My deepest sympathy, and may God bless and comfort Rick and his family.

  • Scott

    Very sad.

  • mike_in_kosovo

    My deepest sympathy to the Warren family. May God strengthen them and comfort them.

  • 24fan

    Poor guy..something must’ve been wrong in his life to make him do that. I recently came out of a slump myself so I know the horror. I survived though thanks to my parents and loved ones praying for me and Jesus himself carrying me through it. My sympathies to his family

    • Spatial Awareness

      I’m so glad you turned to your family. (:^.)……

      • 24fan

        i don’t know what i’d do without them. :p

    • christie

      Happy to read that you are doing better. Thinking of you.

      • 24fan

        Thank you. :)

    • Lady 12

      Glad to know you’re out of the slump, and I will pray that you don’t find yourself in another one.

      • 24fan

        Thank you, I pray I don’t either, just happy I’m over it and it’s like a bad dream now. :)

    • descolada9

      A lot of times, with clinical depression, it is faulty wiring in the brain. There are not necessarily external stimuli that create the situation, but there are definitely ones that exacerbate it.

      • may

        I agree. This is not something that is simply caused by circumstances alone. There’s more science to it than that. It’s so sickening to read so many sniding comments against the father. It only goes to show how narrow-minded, selfish and self-absorbed people have become.

      • cozette westenberger

        You are 100% right. We have all felt “blue”, thought we were depressed. Most of us know nothing about this severe depression. I am the happiest person I know but I had an event in my life that triggered depression and it was like a switch that I could not turn off. Thank God I knew what was going on, went to a doctor and was put on meds. I am back to my happy self and no longer trying to flip the switch back up. People, there is no shame in “mental illness”. See a doctor! The right meds will retire the circuits in your brain. The wrong ones (alcohol and street drugs) will too but they make either situation worse.

  • Marc Richardson

    May God cover the Warren Family and all friends with a thick, warm blanket of His peace.

  • Brandon Watford

    Rick I do not know you but I love you with the heart of Christ, you have made a difference in my life and now I weep with you, I pray with you, I grow with you. Love Brandon

  • StopShreddingMyConstitution

    Wishing much love and strength to the family…. Wow. So sad. Hang in there guys…

  • Karen Etter

    I will be praying for the family. Being a parent of a son who unsuccessfully attempted suicide just 2 years ago my heart and prayers go out to them. May God comfort them during this time.

  • Ben Bollman

    prayers with them

  • Pat Kleinmaier

    my grandson did this just this week. He was only 17. We are trying desperately to figure it all out, but at the memorial service last night almost 400 came together to share his life with us. He touched so many with his smile and goodness. We know the pain the Warrens have today.

    • christie

      Sending my prayers to you and your family.

    • Lady 12

      Praying for your family.

    • bradgates

      so terribly sorry for your loss.

    • 3seven77

      I’m so very sorry to hear this. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  • christie

    Sending my deepest sympathy to the family.

  • Guest

    Rick, Kay, and family – So sad and sorry for your tragic loss – we know first hand the pain of being survivors after the suicide of our precious 30 yr. old son Jay. Our latest book was just released yesterday on and Kindle and might offer you some comfort – “FINDING HOPE After the Devastating Loss of Beloved Children” by Dr. Doug and BJ Jensen (San Diego) We are covering you in prayer.

    • cheeriogirl

      Wow, how about selling your book later, and stick with sending your sympathies today? Better yet, send them a free copy.

    • Guest

      wow … just wow. How incredibly insensitive a person you must be. Your book must be a total sham.

    • Ntr

      So you created your disqus account to post that as your first comment?

    • Gena Hulse

      you’ve just lowered yourself to the status of ambulance chaser….

    • bradgates

      Not cool.

    • Stone Bryson

      I have noted your names, and the name of your book, and I can assure you I will never purchase anything you write. Ever.

    • Gena Hulse

      and exactly why did you change your name to “Guest”, Dr Doug and BJ Jensen….

    • fedupinohio

      After the death of my nephew by his own hand, I sought out everything I could find on the subject of suicide and the survivors. No problem for me that someone is putting out there what could be a very helpful resource.

  • Brenda Rogers

    Isa.57:1-2 The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
    And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
    For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
    2 He enters into peace; They rest in their beds,
    Each one who walked in his upright way.

  • Lauri Kemptner Few

    This breaks my heart my prayers are with you and your family. Your words have given me such strength through your daily devotionals. God is with you, my heart breaks for you and your family.

  • trixiewoobeans

    Severe depression is a heavy, heavy burden. Most don’t know the raw courage it takes just to stay alive and keep going. My sympathies to the family.

    • beautifuldayifyoubelieve

      The problem with depression, many don’t recognize it until its to late. With the world we live in it almost feels hopeless for many young and old. :(

  • NeoKong

    Very sad.

  • [email protected]

    I pray that only words of encouragement will be spoken to this grieving family and that only words of peace and confront will be received by this grieving family.

  • Weismonger

    This death absolutely proves there is no god, god does not exist, prayer is nothing more than begging and talking to empty walls, and belief in an imaginary god does not do anything but lead people down a ridiculous path of silly behavior that results in nothing being accomplished or cured. Only science does the hard work of understanding and seeking cures to mental illness and disease, and making our lives better. The silly bible doesn’t even know that germs cause disease, or that the earth revolves around the sun. Belief in religious magic, which is what religion is, causes untold harm, especially when children are brainwashed against their will into believing in imaginary stuff. Its time to call a halt to all of these silly religious beliefs and find real answers to real problems.

    • auntgiddy

      …wow…ones name=ones nature… and yours say’s it all…

    • Ntr

      Much of the modern ‘scientific’ community is nothing more than another organized religion and does nothing more than allow ego-driven f***s pat eachother on the backs for mostly worthless theories that in no way improve human knowledge.

      And before (if) you respond with anything that embarrasses you, i’m not talking about all science.

    • Gena Hulse

      you know, your opinion is yours, and it is fine to have it, but it is not appropriate for you to announce it here at this time. please have some respect for this family and the beliefs they hold that comfort them in their time of sorrow

    • Randi Starr

      Judy, you are what I hold out to the world as the example as what develops from protoplasm without a heart, compassion and humility. Thank you. being reminded is a good thing.

    • bradgates

      Judy exploits the sorrow of others as a platform to spew psychotic hatred and venom. What a sick, sick person.

  • descolada9

    Waiting for the scumwad leftists to make inappropriate comments and jabs about this. I have suffered from major depressive disorder all of my life and I can relate to how quickly one’s mood can turn from being happy to wanting to kill one’s self. Thankfully, strength of will and meds have kept me from going over the cliff edge. Thoughts and prayers to the Warren family.

    • Lois Daniel Skipworth

      Well said

    • beautifuldayifyoubelieve

      JB, it didn’t take long. I’m sickened by some of the comments, its proof that evil has taken over some out there. So sad for his family, and so sad our fellow humans could be so hateful towards someone with such a loss.

    • Mary Allen

      Same diagnosis for me, Jason. and it runs in families. I lost a brother to suicide when he was 28, The right meds, make life as uncomplicated as possible., hang out with good people, spend time with family. It’s all working for me too..finally. I owed it to my brother to not let the depression win.

    • scxjpfe787

      God bless you and surround you with His love and carry you through your painful times.

    • cheeriogirl

      Jason, you did such a disservice to the many beautiful comments here, left for the Warrens from people on both the left and right. Politics has no place in this discussion, as we all come together to offer comfort and support for the family who must now deal with the aftermath of this horrific tragedy.

      My prayer tonight is that Matthew is now resting in peace, in the arms of his, and our heavenly father.

      Oh, and FYI, I’m what you have called a “scumwad leftist”. I care deeply for the suffering of the Warren family, and wish them all the best as they grieve tonight for their youngest child.

      • descolada9

        cheeriogirl, I did a disservice? You might want to check out the other Twitchy story that validated my point about how many of the leftist loons descended upon the Warrens with vitriol and verbal excrement. If you count yourself among them, then I implore you to stand up to them and tell them how wrong they are to crow at the suffering of a family.

        • cheeriogirl

          My point was directed to you, not others posting comments on another thread.

          FYI Jason, when you lump people together categorically and label them derogatorily ( i.e. “leftist loons”), you ignore the individuality of each created being, and miss the commonalities between us as humans. Not exactly what God had in mind when he called us to love one another, and judge not, eh?

          Also, what was the point you were trying to make with such negative assertions? Why mention politics at all on a thread meant to offer support for Matthew’s family, if not to gin up hate against “others” who feel differently from you? In other words, why borrow trouble?

          A wise man once said- “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

          Matthew 6:34. I think he made a pretty good point.

  • Susan Jaeger-Barker

    I am so sorry for your loss. My husband and I have walked the path you are on after our 38 year old daughter committed suicide last year.. We will pray for you and your family….with love. The Barker’s/Coto

  • nc

    A shocking tragedy that no family should ever have to face, and, as evidenced by the comments here, too many do. This young man must have been in terrible pain. Hope one day soon we can find solutions to this. Deepest condolences to the Warrens and all those who must live with this special kind of loss.

  • BillinRSDCA

    I share their son’s pain daily myself and grieve for his parents loss. My parents strengthen me daily. God’s grace to the family.

  • Rick Little

    God be with the warrebn family , give them comfort and understanding

  • Shirley Hurst Cooley

    His pain was too great to bear. He is in Paradise now, completely whole and living in bliss. I will pray for you.

    • bradgates

      Why do some people insist, after a death, to say that the deceased person is in Heaven? Scripture repeatedly warns against making such presumptuous statements of God’s will. Is it just to be palliative? If enough people say it or if the minister says it at the funeral, will that suddenly make it true? Why not just pray for the poor boy and his family and hope in God’s mercy?

      • caneman11

        Have you never been in a position where you don’t know exactly what to say? Things don’t have to be said perfectly.

      • Christianne Dierdorf Smith

        Those who have accepted Christ as their Saviour go to Heaven. The Bible makes this very clear; it’s not some deep mystery. It sounds like Rick’s son had given his life to Christ. That does not mean you will never have struggles or problems. Some people who deal with depression and mental illness just simply can’t get the help they need at this time. Meds are not perfect. Don’t be so quick to question God’s plan of salvation. If you have not already done so, please acceptGod’s gift of grace through Christ now.

      • cozette westenberger

        Because Gods word says that if we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior, we will be with God. Remember the thieves that were crucified with Jesus? “Today you will be with the Father in Heaven”. Jesus said that , I believe it.

  • Marsha Moseley

    So sad to hear this news…The Warren family is in my prayers…Even for believers, life can at times be overwhelming…and difficulties and illness can overtake momentarily..The enemy of our souls can appear to win at times…but I believe this young man is in Heaven…God knows our weakness and frailties….

  • Linda Ser

    I am heartbroken upon hearing this tragic news. May God help Rick & Kay get through this very difficult time. My prayers are with all who loved Matthew. Someday we’ll be able to ask WHY do things like this have to happen. ;-(

  • Pat

    Total respect and love to the Warren family, and just one comment to the rest of us–when my best friend died by suicide two years ago, I found it very hard when people said he “committed suicide”–it seemed more gentle to say “died by suicide.” He, too, had a crushing burden of depression–and he had tried everything also. One night it was just too much. I miss him terribly, but now understand that the life he led was very courageous–every minute he was alive was pain. May God continue to bless his Spirit and Pastor Warren’s son’s, and all those who struggle with the terrible disease of depression.

  • Sue Lynn

    I lost my son also in 2010 he also suffered from mental illness the last several years of his life. I pray God will hold you in His arms and comfort your family. When we are at our lowest God is at His closest. God bless.

  • Rubye Carswell

    Pastor Rick and family,be comforted in the love of Jesus.

  • Kathi Chaffee

    Pastor Rick, Kay, and family…our hearts are breaking for you! May our Lord hold you tightly throughout your days….until you reunite with him in Jesus’ Presence! May it comfort you to know that you are loved…way beyond your own church of Saddleback…That there are those of us all over the US…and probably the world who are grieving for you!

  • Skurfa

    Prayer, the biggest waste of time anyone has ever dreamed up. Either God does not exist…..or he doesn’t listen, either way it’s a waste of time.

    • Atticus Fisticuffs

      weak troll attempt

      • $36544368

        Thank you, Skurfa…you just proved that God does indeed exist…the Bible clearly states that only a food says that there is no God. Every time someone tries to deny God, it only strengthens a believer’s belief in Him. We live in a fallen world…the rain falls on the just and the unjust. As the ol’ song says, ‘this world is not my home, I’m just passing through’…Christians are not immune to pain, unfairness, etc…we just have the comfort of knowing that there is an unchanging God who will never leave us…and that grace is there for us always.

        • $36544368

          Edit to above – my apologies for the typo – I typed ‘food’ instead of ‘fool’.

      • Skurfa

        Troll attempt? Not likely

  • [email protected]

    Spatial Awareness: Did you not read Pastor Warren’s letter?? His son had the support and love and his family and medical options did not touch that with which he suffered. All the love and support do not have the power to change brain chemistry.One does not “chose” death over help. What would you suggest for decades of mental anguish?? Stop…feel…

    • Michael Anderson (WB)

      There has been the idea in many conservative Christian churches/denominations that mental illness is some form of sin. (This is not the case with the Warrens.). For some reason we seem to think every other part of the body can be diseased, but not the brain.
      Not only is this thinking wrong but it is devastating to those who would seek solace from their illness in the place that should give it. The conservative church has failed badly here, we should be a ray of hope to the suffering.

      • cheeriogirl

        Well said Michael.

  • Taxpayer1234

    My heart is broken for the family. There is nothing worse than watching your child suffer on and on despite all you try to do to help. I’m speaking from experience.

  • Pat D’Amico

    I to have suffered for most of my life and didn’t understand why. Depression seem’s unreal to someone who has never experienced it. Then again many of you have. I feel for his son and all those left behind, because it is a burden they don’t understand. I have been at that point several time’s in my life, but one thing that kept me going was thinking about those who I would leave behind and how much I would hurt them. I found help understanding what was wrong. I am Bipolar and suffer from PTSD. When someone seem’s sad or out of touch. Do anything you can to help. You may save their life and your pain.

  • cripple

    National Shrine of The Divine Mercy-What I Know About Suicide

  • Renee’ Barclift

    my heart breaks. so sorry. we, who belong to the lord, need to pray for them.

  • Guest

    My sister committed suicide 14 years ago at the age of 17. It is one of the most tragic things a family can go through because you never get the answer to the question “Why?” Pastor Warren will be asking himself until he dies “What did I do? Why my son?” He doesn’t need the bitterness, ignorance, and hatred of these trolls added on to his family’s pain. And here’s a clue people, while I can’t speak to Pastor Warren’s teachings, the Catholic Church does not hate gays. The Catholic Church doesn’t hate anyone. PEOPLE hate PEOPLE. PEOPLE fear PEOPLE. The Catholic Church has an entire document that explains quite clearly what and why it believes and teaches what it does. It’s called the CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH. Look it up.

    The Catholic Church’s teachings, based on natural law and supported by the Bible is that marriage is the only place where sexual expression should take place because in the sex act there is always the chance to engender life. ANY sexual congress taking place outside of marriage is looked on as sinful behavior. HOWEVER, nowhere, anywhere, does the BIble or the Catholic Church’s catechism state that the “Catholic Church hates gays”. Just like any other sinner, the Church doesn’t turn away gays. The Church actually teaches that we should *pray* for gays like we should pray for all sinners. Jesus gave us 2 Commandments that summed up the 10 Commandments perfectly: 1. You shall love the Lord, Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and all your mind. 2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

    If more of us believed that we were made in God’s image and likeness, it would be a lot harder for us to hate (ourselves and) each other and easier to love one another. “Love one another. For as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” So, I will pray for Matthew Warren, and anyone else who is suffering with depression and suicidal pain; I will pray for Pastor Warren and his family that their grief may be lessened; and I will pray for all sinners (including myself) that we shall repent and sin no more.

    • cheeriogirl

      Sorry for your loss guest. Let’s remember that this thread is all about the death of Matthew Warren, not about your defense of the Catholic church’s position on gay people.

  • $7610427

    This is so sad…

  • Normi Mann

    I, too lost my daughter, at the age of 27 to suicide; a direct result of on going mental illness. She fought the fight, as did your dear Son, Pastor Warren. My heart is with you and breaks for you tonight. May our Lord of kindness, mercy & grace; hold you both tenderly in His arms. No more pain, no more tears. Matt is home with his heavenly Father tonight.

  • minime13

    What a great and strong representative to leadership of faith. I have seen, firsthand, how the Pastor leading my brother’s funeral essentially condemned him to hell for choosing suicide, and making opportunity to preach a sermon condemning every single time he didn’t come to church, every tattoo he had on his body, and questioning that his faith in God wasn’t strong enough as reasons why he chose to kill himself – in front of all of his friends and family that were trying to come to terms with what had happened. I think that, often, people tend to forget that life happens, and that sometimes life can be cruel, and that it is not up to anyone else to throw out judgment. More often than not, it’s better to try compassion and understanding.

    This family will need plenty of that in the short and long term. It is a battle that never ends when you lose a loved one to suicide.

    • cheeriogirl

      I am so sorry for the cruelty shown you and your family at your brother’s funeral- clearly cruelty NOT condoned by our loving heavenly father. May you find comfort and peace in the truth of God’s love, and acceptance of all who call upon his name.

  • Jodee Kalmen

    I am utterly perplexed and compassionately sorry for your loss. I study suicide as well as mental illness at CSUF. The two, at times, go hand and hand. What can I do to serve you dear God in this moment of sorrow? Allow me to walk in Your will. May the Light of God surround this family.
    I don’t go to this church, but I respect my right to send you my best thoughts and loving regards.

  • cozette westenberger

    Am so sad for the Warren family. Knowing their son is with Jesus today will help ease the burden. God is with you.

  • Adria Colson Groves

    My deepest sympathy

  • Steven Lomelino

    Pastor Rick Warren & family, I cannot being to understand your pain. I do understand Matthew’s pain all too well though. In the next few weeks I will complete the rough draft of Success Redefined: Abundant Life After Loss. This book tells how God brought me through great loss (which immediately followed great success), depression, attempted suicide, and recovery (which never really ends). The first words are “I know what it’s like to be dead” and later I state that mental pain is far worse than physical pain. Please pray that God uses this book, in His perfect time, to give hope to those in despair and most of all to bring Glory to Himself. I invite you to visit for a glimpse of what God taught me during this time. I lift the Warren family up to God. May God wrap you in His arms during this time.

  • Merri Garrett Chapman

    I am praying for your family! I don’t understand why these things happen! My Mom took her life when I was 5 and those of us who have lost those precious to us understand the pain you are feeling. I am so sorry for your loss and sad the meds and medical help didn’t work. I believe that although we don’t understand why these things happen I believe God while forgive and heal and your son is now out of pain and in heaven with his heavenly father. I know it still hurts but I will pray for you and your family. I hope you can find peace and comfort in Jesus Christ!