Regina King’s son Ian Alexander Jr. has died by suicidem. His 26th birthday was Wednesday.
The 51-year-old actress confirmed the tragic news to PEOPLE on Friday with a statement:
“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” King says in a statement sent to PEOPLE. “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.”
He was King’s only child, whom she shared with her ex-husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr.
Following in his father’s musical footsteps, Ian was a deejay. King previously told PEOPLE that he was “an amazing young man.”
Despite her growing success as an actor and director, King said at the time that Ian was her biggest source of pride. After separating from Ian’s father in 2007 after nine years of marriage, King admitted being a single parent wasn’t always easy, but that nothing is stronger than her love for her son.
“You don’t know what unconditional love is. You may say you do, but if you don’t have a child, you don’t know what that is,” she explained at the time. “When you experience it, it’s the most fulfilling [thing] ever.”
In honor of his mom’s 50th birthday last year, Ian paid tribute to the multi-hyphenate on Instagram, writing: “Happy birthday to my co, so extremely proud of you and inspired by your love, artistry, and gangsta! To be able to watch you take this lifetime by its neck and make it yours is something i will forever be grateful for.”
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