Heartbreaking. Actress Regina King is mourning the death of her only son, Ian Alexander Jr., after he died by suicide just days after his 26th birthday.

“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” King said in a statement to TODAY on Friday, January 21. “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.”

The Ray star, 51, shared her only child with ex-husband Ian Alexander Sr., as the couple welcomed their son on January 19, 1996. King was married to the record producer from 1997 to 2007.

As a doting and devoted mother, the Harder They Fall star shared a very special and close relationship with her son. Alexander Jr. often accompanied his mother to red carpets, posing for photos as a fashionable mother-son duo.

During a joint interview at the 2019 Golden Globes red carpet, Alexander Jr. gushed over his mother. “She’s just a super mom, really,” the musician — who performed under the name Desduné — told Ryan Seacrest for E! News at the time. “She doesn’t really let bad work days or anything come back and ruin the time that we have. So, it’s really awesome to have a mother who I can enjoy spending time with.”

In the same interview, King opened up about her 2018 TV mini series Seven Seconds and 2018 film If Beale Street Could Talk, in which she played mother roles. When Seacrest, 47, asked King why she was “hesitant” at first to take the role of Latrice Butler in Seven Seconds, which is about a grieving mother who fights for justice for her teenage son who was murdered, she answered honestly.

“I mean, look at this young man that is my most, just makes me happier than anything in the whole world and to know that I was gonna have to be in the space of a mother losing her child for six months, it was terrifying,” King said. “I didn’t realize that was the reason why, in my mind I told myself, ‘I don’t need to play another mother, I need to chill on a mother role for a while.’ But as I was in it and [director] Veena Sud was so sure that I needed to be the mother. As I was in it and we were working on the show, I realized it was just my own fear of being in a place that I don’t ever want to be in life, you know?”

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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