Ian Alexander Jr, the only child of award-winning actor and director Regina King, has died. He turned 26 on Wednesday.
“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” a family statement shared on Saturday by a King spokesman said. “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.”
The spokesman confirmed the death was suicide. No further details were released.
Alexander's father is the One Night in Miami director's former husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr. The two divorced in 2007 after 10 years of marriage. The younger Alexander was a musician and DJ who often accompanied King to red carpet events.
He told E! News at the 2019 Golden Globes: “She’s just a super mum. 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.”
The pair had matching tattoos reading “unconditional love” in Aramaic.
“We were taking Kabbalah classes,” King said on US chat show The View in 2017. “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.”
For his mother’s 50th birthday last year, Alexander posted a tribute on Instagram that read in part: “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.”
On Instagram a week ago, King shared a clip of her son’s latest track, Green Eyes, urging her followers to check it out, saying he'd said he'd quit smoking if it got a million views.
In an interview with People, she once called her son “an amazing young man” and spoke of the love between mother and child.
“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,” said the Oscar, Golden Globe and four-time Emmy winner. “When you experience it, it’s the most fulfilling (thing) ever.”
Word of Alexander’s death spread quickly on social media.
“Deepest condolences and prayers for strength to @ReginaKing. Sending back to her all the warmth and light and support she has extended to me and to so many others,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund, posted on Twitter.
King, a star in If Beale Street Could Talk, The Harder They Fall and numerous other films, is the recipient of two NAACP Image Awards.
Bernice King, chief executive of the Martin Luther King Jr Centre for Nonviolent Change and daughter of the civil rights activist, posted on Twitter: “Praying for Regina King. She needs all the grace and light that can flow her way right now.”