Rick Warren Son Autopsy: What Does Autopsy Tell Us About Matthew Warren’s Apparent Suicide?

By Philip Ross on April 9, 2013 5:43 PM EDT

Rick Warren
Rick Warren at the 2006 TED conference. Pastor Warren's youngest son, Matthew, committed suicide on April 5. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Rick Warren's son's autopsy confirms that Matthew Warren, the pastor's youngest son, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at around 10 AM on Friday, April 5. The 27-year-old son of the popular Southern California pastor committed suicide at his home in Mission Viejo, CA.

Los Angeles Times reports that Pastor Warren, author of the book Purpose Driven Life, which sold over 30 million copies in the first five years since its publication, addressed his son's suicide in a letter to his staff at his church. "Today after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his own life," Pastor Warren said. The family said that Matthew Warren suffered from mental illness.

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A few days later, Pastor Warren also had a few words for internet bloggers who, after news of Matthew Warren's suicide broke, immediately speculated that the pastor's son was gay, and that his suicide was directly linked to his father's anti-gay views.

"Grieving is hard. Grieving as public figures, harder. Grieving while haters celebrate your pain, hardest. Your notes sustained us," he tweeted to his almost 960,000 followers.

Daily News reports that many Twitter users took to throwing vitriolic accusations at Pastor Warren, whose views on homosexuality have not always been favorable.

"So what are the odds that Matthew Warren was gay and his father's rhetoric contributed to his depression and suicide?" one commenter tweeted.

"So sad for #RickWarren family's loss of son to suicide. So many gay kids commit suicide each week. #itgetsbetter," another said.

Some Twitter uses even attacked Pastor Warren directly. "@RickWarren ... Did you kill your gay son!!?" one user remarked.

Pastor Warren's views on homosexuality, particularly gay marriage, have been well documented over the years. His congregation, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, publically supported California Proposition 8, which defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

During a Piers Morgan interview on CNN back in Nov. 2012, Morgan asked Pastor Warren directly if he thinks gay people are born gay. Pastor Warren said he believes there is still not a clear answer for that. He went on to say that being gay is like a feeling that you shouldn't act on.

"Sometimes I get angry and I feel like punching a guy in the nose," he said. "It doesn't mean I act on it. Sometimes I feel attracted to women who are not my wife. I don't act on it. Just because I have a feeling doesn't make it right."

When asked later if he regretted publically supporting Proposition 8, Pastor Warren said that yes, he did.

On Saturday, Pastor Warren posted on his Facebook page: "We appreciate all of your prayer and support for Pastor Rick and Kay during this difficult situation. Show your support through prayer, commenting, liking, or sharing this post."

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