Ian Alexander Jr., the only child of award-winning actor Regina King, died by suicide at the age of 26, a representative for the family said Saturday as support flooded in from social media.
The family asked for “respectful consideration during this private time.” No further details were released.
Alexander Jr., who turned 26 just days ago on Jan. 19, was a musician and DJ who frequently attended awards ceremonies and star-studded events alongside his mother. His father, Ian Alexander Sr., is a record producer who was married to King for a decade before they divorced in 2007.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data for 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the United States among those aged 25 to 34 and the 10th-leading cause among adults in the United States.
On New Year’s Eve, King appeared on CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live” alongside her son, telling hosts Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen that the family was ringing in 2022 together.
Actress @ReginaKing says New Year’s resolutions don't "always workout” for her.— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 1, 2022
“I tend to take time like a lot of us do to just kind of reflect,” King said. “We all want to be included and we should be and when we are all included, things are better.” #CNNNYE pic.twitter.com/QbMaU5pRaS
King and her son have described their close bond in interviews. In 2019, Alexander Jr. told E! News at the Golden Globes that King was a “super mom” who didn’t allow work stresses to come between them. “It’s really awesome to have a mother who I can enjoy spending time with,” he said.
In a 2015 interview with Vulture, King said she prioritized her relationship with her son over taking on star roles. “I’m not missing out on his life,” she said, also revealing that the pair had matching tattoos in Aramaic.
“His is huge, from his elbow to his wrist,” she said, adding that the phrasing means “unconditional love.” King, in that interview, laughed as she recalled her son telling her: “No, you can’t get that size, Mom!” King’s matching tattoo is smaller and on her forearm.
King, who has won an Oscar and four Emmy Awards, has starred in numerous films, including “The Harder They Fall” and “Seven Seconds.”
King won an Emmy for her role in “Seven Seconds,” a crime series that premiered on Netflix in 2018. King played the role of a mother of a Black teenager killed by a White police officer. King told E! News she had been “hesitant” to take on the role.
Gesturing to Alexander Jr., who was standing on the red carpet next to her, King said that her son “made her happier than anything in the whole world” and that to play the part of a mother who loses a child was “terrifying.”
“It was my own fear of being in a place that I don’t ever want to be in life,” she said, in a clip that was widely shared on social media this weekend.
“Praying for Regina King. She needs all the grace and light that can flow her way right now,” tweeted Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.
“I am lifting and holding you up. LOVE you @ReginaKing and I am so sorry,” wrote actor Viola Davis.
Octavia Spencer, Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott also took to social media to offer King their prayers and support, while others remembered Alexander Jr. as “sweet and talented.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741.