Tributes are being paid to the son of Oscar-winning actress Regina King, who died just days after his 26th birthday.
Ian Alexander Jr was a musician and DJ who often accompanied his mother to red carpet events, and both were great champions of each other’s work.
A spokesperson for King confirmed his death was a suicide and shared a family statement, saying, “Our family is devastated to the core of the loss of Ian.
“He is such a bright light who cared so deeply for the happiness of others. Our family asks for respectful consideration during this private time.”
King is best known for her Emmy-winning role in the TV series Watchmen and for films including 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk – for which she won her Oscar and also a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress – and The 2021’s Harder They Fall alongside Idris Elbe. She also directed Oscar-nominated One Night In Miami, released in 2020.
Her son’s father is her former husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr. The couple divorced in 2007 after 10 years of marriage.
Ian Alexander Jr has performed as ‘desdune’, according to his Instagram page, and his latest single, Green Eyes, was released on January 7, Sky News affiliate NBC reports.
Earlier in January, he shared a birthday message with King and said, “Having you as my mother is the greatest gift I could ask for.” Speaking to E! News at the Golden Globes in 2019, he called the star a “super mom.”
He continued, “She doesn’t really let bad days at work or anything come back and ruin the time we have. It’s really great to have a mother that I can enjoy spending time with.”
The couple had matching tattoos that read “unconditional love” in Aramaic. In an interview with People, King previously called his son “an amazing young man.”
Stars such as Janet Jackson and Octavia Spencer were among those sharing tributes and messages of support for King online.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and chief counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, shared her “deepest condolences and prayers for strength” to King on Twitter, and said, “Sending him all the warmth, light and support that brought to me and so many others.”
Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King and also executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolent Change, also posted on Twitter: “Pray for Regina King. She needs all grace and the light that can make her way flow at this time.”
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call the Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the United States, call your local Samaritans branch or 1 (800) 273-TALK