Regina King’s only son Ian Alexander Jr. has died by apparent suicide. He was 26 years old and just had a birthday last Wednesday. The news of Alexander Jr.’s passing broke last night, and shortly after, King released a statement on the tragic news.
“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” King said in a statement 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.”
Alexander Jr. was the actresses’ only child whom she shared with her ex-husband and record producer Ian Alexander Sr. King and Alexander Sr. separated in 2007.
The 51-year-old actress was never shy about expressing her love for her son in the media, repeatedly calling him her biggest source of pride and inspiration. “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. “When you experience it, it’s the most fulfilling [thing] ever.”
Since the news broke, fans have shared heartfelt tributes across social media of the actress sharing her deepest love for her son, like this montage of the many times King told the world how much he meant to her.
Ian was also never shy about expressing his love for his mother and wrote her the sweetest birthday tribute last year on her 50th birthday, posting a loving photo of the two with a heartfelt caption. “Happy birthday to my co, so extremely proud of you and inspired by your love, artistry, and gangsta,” he wrote. “To be able to watch you take this lifetime by its neck and make it yours is something i will forever be grateful for. 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 shit on you, your the real superhero! Love you mom! This day and everyday YO DAY!!”