Matthew Warren, the son of Rev. Rick Warren, has died. He was 27.

Rick Warren is the founder and senior pastor of the Lake Forest, California-based megachurch Saddleback Church – the eighth-largest church in the United States – and the author of the best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life.

In an e-mail to supporters released on Saturday, the elder Warren said that his youngest son had “struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts.”

After spending an evening with his parents, the e-mail said, “in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.”

While on a media tour last year to promote an updated edition of his book, interviewers peppered Warren with questions about his disapproval of homosexuality and support for Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban.

His answers suggested that Warren had softened his stance on the issue. He told The Huffington Post that gays who accept Jesus are “going to Heaven … without a doubt.”