Rick Warren and Wife 'Overwhelmed' by Outpouring Condolences After Son’s Suicide

Apr 07, 2013 08:37 AM EDT

Pastor Rick Warren posted a tweet Sunday morning, saying that he and his wife are "overwhelmed" by the outpouring condolences from the global Christian community and the public.

Rick Warren’s youngest son Matthew died Friday after an apparent suicide caused by lifelong struggle with "deep depression" and "suicidal thoughts", according to a letter written to church staff Yesterday by the Southern California megachurch pastor.

“Kay and I are overwhelmed by your love, prayers, and kind words. You are all encouraging our #brokenhearts,” tweeted Rick Warren to his 949,162 followers.

Since the news broke of this tragedy, Christian leaders and followers poured messages of condolences and support through social media despite some vitriol aimed at him personally and at his biblical teachings.

About 30,000 people "liked" the message on Pastor Warren's Facebook page, where the church wrote, "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."

Limbless Australian evangelist Nick Vujicic, who appeared on Oprah Winfrey Network with Rick Warren last month and preached at Saddleback Church, tweeted, "@RickWarren Love you and your family. Praying for you all Brothers."

Israel Houghton, Grammy Award-winning Christian singer, tweeted, “Weeping and mourning with my friends @RickWarren and @KayWarren1 at the tragic loss of their son. At a loss for words. Just pray...”

Geoff Tunnicliff, CEO of World Evangelical Alliance, tweeted, “My heart goes out to my dear friends Rick and Kay at the loss of their son. Please join me in prayer for the Warren family....”

Annie Lobert, founder of Hookers for Jesus, tweeted, “@SirOzFox and I are praying for you.”

Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Church, tweeted, “At times like these, there really are no words, but there is the Word. There is no manual, but there is Emmanuel,” and “Their son Matthew has gone to be with the Lord.”

Moreover, members of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., gathered on Saturday for its first weekend service to pray and worship, and to face the reality of death of 27-year-old son of their pastor, Rick Warren.