Tributes are being paid to the son of Oscar-winning actress Regina King, who has 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 big champions of each other’s work.

A spokesperson for King confirmed his death was suicide and shared a family statement, saying: “Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian.

“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.”

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 2021’s The Harder They Fall alongside Idris Elba. She also directed the Oscar-nominated One Night In Miami, released in 2020.

Her son’s father is her former husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr. The pair divorced in 2007 after 10 years of marriage.

Ian Alexander Jr performed under the name “desduné,” according to his Instagram page, and his most recent single, Green Eyes, was released on 7 January, Sky News affiliate NBC reports.

More on Regina King

Earlier in January, he shared a birthday message to King and said: “To have you as my mother is the greatest gift I could ask for.” Speaking to E! News at the Golden Globes in 2019, he described the star as a “super mom”.

He continued: “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. In an interview with People, King had previously called her son “an amazing young man”.

Stars including Janet Jackson and Octavia Spencer were among those sharing tributes and messages of support for King online.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, shared her “deepest condolences and prayers for strength” to King on Twitter, and said: “Sending back to her all the warmth and light and support she has extended to me and to so many others.”

Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King and also the chief executive of the Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolent Change, also posted on Twitter: “Praying for Regina King. She needs all the grace and light that can flow her way right now.”

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

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