Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California recently offered words of comfort to the members of Irish rock band U2, whose tour manager of 33 years unexpectedly passed away on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post published on Thursday, "The Purpose Driven Life" author revealed that he spent a few moments with the band before they played a sold-out show at The Forum arena in California. Warren, whose 27-year-old son died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound several years ago, often encourages believers to release their grief so God can heal their hearts.
"U2's road manager for 33 years, the amazing Dennis Sheehan died suddenly last night here in LA. Dennis was a calm and kind Christian man," Warren wrote. "The team is heartbroken so Adam, Larry, Edge, and Bono asked me to share some scripture, words of comfort, and pray with them right before they walked on stage tonight. After sharing the #ChooseJoy story from my son's death, I asked "So how do you go out and do a concert when your heart is hurting?" Bono said "We choose joy!" Right. Pray for Pam who lost the love of her life."
The AP reports that Sheehan, in his late 60s, died after going into cardiac arrest at a Sunset Strip hotel in West Hollywood on Wednesday, a day after the band kicked off a five-night stint in the Los Angeles area.
After news of Sheehan's death broke, U2 frontman Bono posted a statement on the band's website commemorating the late tour manager.
"We've lost a family member, we're still taking it in," Bono wrote. "He wasn't just a legend in the music business, he was a legend in our band. He is irreplaceable."
EW reveals that after during U2's Wednesday night performance, Bono also took a moment to express the band's affection for Sheehan.
As he introduced the song Iris, from their latest album Songs of Innocence, Bono said, "We look after each other and it takes a lot to put on a show like tonight. Last night we lost a member of our family. Dennis Sheehan was his name. He was U2's tour manager for 33 years," Bono added. "He loved, as we all do, the city of Los Angeles and he called the Sunset Marquis his 'home away from home'. He came to this city as a young man in the '70s, working for Led Zeppelin. He always thought maybe U2 could be the next Led Zeppelin, which of course is impossible."
Sheehan's unexpected death comes after other recent setbacks for the band. Around Christmastime last year, Bono crashed his bike in Central Park in New York, suffering multiple injuries, including fractures to his left eye socket, shoulder blade and left elbow.
At the time, the 54 year old rocker revealed that the the vulnerability of his state in addition to the holiday season brought him to his knees and caused him to reflect on the life and humility of Jesus Christ.
"...the Christmas story..still brings me to my knees - which is a good place for me lest I harm myself or others," he wrote. "Christmas is not a time for me to overthink about this child, so vulnerable, who would grow so strong... to teach us all how vulnerability is the route to strength and, by example, show us how to love and serve.To me this is not a fairy tale but a challenge. I preach what I need to hear."