Regina King‘s son, Ian Alexander Jr., has died by suicide, People confirmed. He had just turned 26 years old on Wednesday (January 19).
“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” King said in a statement to the publication. “He is such a bright light who cared so deeply about the happiness of others. Our family asks for respectful consideration during this private time. Thank you.”
Ian was the actress’ only child, whom she shared with her ex-husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr.
In a previous interview with People, King shared that Ian Jr. was “an amazing young man” and her “biggest source of pride.” He’d followed in his father into music, becoming a DJ.
In 2007, King separated from Ian’s father after nine years of marriage. And while, at the time, King admitted that single parenting was tough, she also said nothing is stronger than her love for her son.
“You don’t know what unconditional love is. You may say that you do, but if you don’t have a child, you don’t know what it is,” the film director shared at the time. “When you experience it, it’s the most fulfilling [thing] ever.”
The two share a matching tattoo that reads “unconditional love” in Arabic.
King explained the touching story behind the ink on The View in 2017: “We were taking Kabbalah classes. He said, ‘Let’s choose three [designs] each and not tell each other which ones they are and whichever one is matching, that’s the one we’re going to get tattooed’ –– and we both chose unconditional love.”
Ian accompanied his mother to many red carpet events, including the 2019 Golden Globes where he called her “a super mom.”
“She’s just a super mom,” he told E! News. “She doesn’t really let bad work days or anything come back and ruin the time that we have. It’s really awesome to have a mother who I can enjoy spending time with.”
News of Ian’s death was first reported by LoveBScott.
If you or someone you know need mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.