King has had a successful career, both as an actor and director, but she has always maintained that King said at the time that Ian was her biggest source of pride
Trigger Warning: This story discusses suicide. It may be disturbing to readers.
Regina King's son Ian Alexander Jr. has died by suicide just days after his 26th birthday.
"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."
King shared her son, her only child, with her ex-husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr. Ian followed in his father's footsteps and was a deejay. King previously said that he was "an amazing young man."
King has had a successful career, both as an actor and director, but she has always maintained that Ian was her biggest source of pride. When she separated from Ian's father in 2007 after nine years of marriage, King admitted being a single parent wasn't always easy, but she mentioned that nothing is stronger than her love for her son.
King spoke about the deep love she had for her son in a 2011 interview with CNN. "I get emotional because my son is an amazing young man, and it took me to be a mother for me to realize how incredible of a woman [my mother] is," King said. "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. But when you experience it, it is the most fulfilling ever. So, that is the greatest part about me. Being a mom to Ian."
Ian, too, felt the same way about his mother. He took to Instagram to share a special message for his mom on her 50th birthday. "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."
He continued, "But to have you as my mother is the greatest gift I could ask for. To be all that you are while always having the time to be there, love, and support me unconditionally is truly remarkable. The whole marvel universe ain't got s--- on you, your the real superhero! Love you, mom! This day and everyday YO DAY!!"
The mom-son duo even had matching tattoos, which read "unconditional love" in Aramaic—his on his shoulder and hers on her arm.
Ian has often also accompanied his mom on red carpets, including in 2019 when he called her "super mom" while at the Golden Globes. "She's just a super mom," he told E! News. "She doesn't really let bad workdays 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."
At the time, King said Ian made her "happier than anything in the whole world."
If you or somebody you know need help, call 1-800-784-2433 (Suicide Helpline).
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Emma McIntyre