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Andrew Koenig's body found; 'My son took his own life,' father says

Koenigs A tearful Walter Koenig appeared at a press conference Thursday evening to confirm that a body found earlier in the day in Vancouver's Stanley Park was that of his son, missing "Growing Pains" actor Andrew Koenig.

"My son took his own life," Walter Koenig said, wife Judy at his side.

Both parents and about 10 of Andrew's friends had returned to Stanley Park -- which at 1,000 acres is larger than New York's Central Park -- on Thursday morning to conduct their own search. They split into teams, Walter said, and after about two hours a call came from the other team saying that Andrew's body had been found. Walter and Judy then went to the site.

The Koenigs pleaded with others who might have depressed family members to recognize the signs.

Walter Koenig appealed to those who might be in emotional pain: "If you can learn anything from this, it's that there are people out there who really care, and you may not think so, and ultimately it may not be enough, but ... before you make that final decision, check it out again, talk to somebody."

Said Judy: "Don't rationalize away anything -- connect with each other if there's something that's bothering you, because there's love out there."

The body was found off a trail in a densely wooded area, and "was unseen from the path," a police spokeswoman said. Police have no reason to believe foul play was involved, she said, and would not release a cause of death, as a coroner's investigation has been opened.
Missing Andrew Koenig, who played best friend Richard "Boner" Stabone to Kirk Cameron's Mike Seaver on the sitcom in the late 1980s, was last seen on Valentine's Day in Vancouver, where he had been visiting friends. He was reported missing Feb. 18 after failing to catch a Feb. 16 flight home to the L.A. area. His cellphone was last used Feb. 16. Andrew's parents, Walter and Judy Koenig, said they received a letter from him last week in which their son wrote in a "despondent tone." He had stopped taking medication for depression about a year ago, said his father, one of the stars of the original "Star Trek" series. The Koenigs had arrived in Vancouver on Tuesday to assist in the search. 

They appeared on the "Today" show Wednesday to ask for help in finding their son. A planned appearance via remote on "Larry King Live" was delayed by other news Wednesday, and the Koenigs left in frustration without going on the air.


Andrew Koenig's friends and other celebrities stepped up starting last week on Twitter, Facebook and blogs to let people know that Andrew was missing, former costar Cameron among them.

Unknown to his parents, in the weeks leading up to his Vancouver visit Koenig gave away his belongings, gave notice on his Venice apartment and paid his final rent.

"It started off as a garage sale," a neighbor told People, "and eventually, he put everything out in front of the apartment, like he was giving it away." According to a friend, Andrew said he wanted to start over in Vancouver.

"The information we've gathered from friends and family was that Andrew was despondent and going through a low period in his life like many people do, so we are very hopeful for his safe return and that he comes out of this dark period safely," Vancouver police spokesman Const. Tim Fanning said earlier this week.

Photos: Walter and Judy Koenig, top, at the Feb. 25, 2010, press conference in Vancouver where they announced the discovery of their son's body. At left, missing persons poster for Andrew Koenig is seen on a light pole in front of the Olympic Cauldron on February 24, 2010, in Vancouver. Credits: Roger Hallett / The Canadian Press / Associated Press, top; Michael Heiman / Getty Images, left.

Related dispatch from the Ministry of Gossip:

Growing Pains' actor Andrew Koenig is missing; son of Walter Koenig was last seen in Vancouver

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Comments () | Archives (47)

I am so very sorry for your loss. There is nothing harder in this life than the death of a loved one!

I have known Walter Koenig for almost 20 years and almost 10 years ago I spent several hours on the phone with Andrew discussing his relationships with family - from my perspective as someone dealing with PTSD and depression myself. He impressed me as a bright, caring, but apparently troubled young man. It is a pity that depression prevents those suffering from it from recognizing and understanding the depth of love directed toward them. Walter Koenig is one of the finest, funniest men I have ever known and this tragedy will not, I hope, change the wonderful man I have been privileged to know.

I am truly heartbroken for Walter and his family.

I lost my 33 year old daughter to suicide 15 days ago. She had bipolar and took her medications faithfully. Despite all of the doctors efforts, she was never able to rid herself of the depression that she said was "unremitting". My heart goes out to Andrew's parents and family. Unfortunately, I know the pain and anguish they must be experiencing right now.

Wow, How sad for his family..

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope those who are depressed see it through another day. I tried to kill myself when I was 19, thinking it was the end of the world. It gets better. I am so sorry.

I am so very sorry to here this truly a sad day

r.i.p andrew koenig. i feel bad for the family and friends of his. when you are a good person you should not take your own live and when you are a bad person who did a very bad thing you should own up to it and not do that.

they need to get rid of valentines day, im sure it did not help.

My sister suffered for years with depression. It is a dark road and I am truly so sorry for the loss of Andrew. My heart goes out to his parents and they will be in my prayers tonight as I go to sleep.

I AM SO VERY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS.IT IS SO HEARTBREAKING.

We lost our Dad to brain cancer last Spring and today got a package from the Navy with the details of his burial at sea (some shells from the 21 gun solute, flag, details of lat/long, letter from the commander, etc.). As a Trekkie and a son trying to support a depressed family, I am very sad for your loss. I give you huge praise for turning such a tragic situation into something positive.

You are right, Love is out there and just continue to connect.

I am so sorry - my heart aches for you. Peace.

I'm sorry for the Koenig family.

Many suffering from depression rely on psychiatrists and their prescriptions of medication, but psychologists are much more effective and trained to figure out the emotions underlying the symptoms that psychiatrists treat superficially. I'm not saying it's a sure fire solution, but psychologists are better than psychiatrists, who often fall into their own self-absorbed tendencies and aren't trained to read other people or help them figure out the emotional source of the pain in one's past.

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. For those of us that live just one more day with depression is an enormous struggle. Most days we feel we are defeated by having to face another day again. I vividly remember my counselor saying "...depression is hard for you but even harder for those you leave behind." So tonight when my son and I say our prayers, we will pray a special comfort for your family.

I lost a friend on Feb 18th in a similar manner that I have known and worked with for many many years in the past. This is something that you can not neccessarily simply see coming, even by close family and friends. My friend's family had no indication that something might be terribly wrong. Don't play the blame game as a family member or close friend, only God knows what will happen to each of us and we are not meant to be all knowing. Just be loving.... My prayers are with the Koenig family. Many can emphasize with you and others, dear friends. Mark....

Yit'gadal v'yit'kadash sh'mei raba .....My deepest sympathy to you and your entire family. I didn't know your son, but my heart went out the family and I kept up with pleas for help. May he now know peace and no longer suffer.

I alwqys wanted to end my life because I just couldn't live up to everyone's expectations. I'm so glad I didn't do it, I have turned my life around and at an old age am enjoying great success in my career. Finally I'm so happy to be alive, finally I'm happy with who I am, finally I have arrived and everyone is taking notice of my knowledge and talent. Somethings do not happen when you are young and twenty. I am living proof of that but no one told me.
Matiana

Mr. and Mrs. Koenig, watching you tonight discussing your tragic loss was heartbreaking. Despite your unimaginable pain, you came out to warn others of the dangers of depression. Your words sank deep. I commend you for your incredible courage during this painful time. Bless you both, I wish you the best.

May God Bless & provide His peace/comfort to the Koenig family~ Hearing Walter Koenig's emotional interview on the radio today brought tears to my eyes. I know his pain, as I also lost my 16 year old daughter after 8 weeks of serious depression that resulted from an assault by an Internet predator. Serious depression can highly lethal~ Thank you Walter Koenig for warning others that are depressed that there is Hope and many can be helped to overcome their current circumstances. I am so deeply sorry for the anguish and pain the Koenig family now endures.

My heart goes out to the Koenigs and to Andrew especially. He must have felt so alone even though there were people around him who loved him. It's still very difficult for someone who deals with this sort of thing their whole life. As time goes on, without emotional support, counseling or meds it gets worse. Sometimes the meds dont' help sometimes they can make it worse and I'll bet that's the reason he stopped taking them. It's so sad because he actually had people who cared what happened to him. A lot of depressed people are misunderstood and have been hurt the most by their family members, so as a way of protection they isolate themselves from them. It is very difficult to get to that place where you can live with depression and it always on shakey ground. It sounds like Andrew was a long time fighter and just got tired of fighting. He was so cute as a kid and funny on Growing Pains it's hard to wrap your head around the fact that he was unhappy and sick. Bless you Andrew and I truly believe you will be together with your loved ones again one day.

Absolutely pay attn to depression as well as the medications that one takes for depression as it many times does have a reverse reaction and instead of helping one cope with their depression - it promotes it. My mother committed suicide about 5.5 years ago and despite my pleas of the doctors not giviing her anti-depressants - I was told that she was the patient not I. We as those who try to understand why one takes their life - we see the depression but never ever imagine that it is something that would happen to our family - it is something that happens to others - not us. Well, this is not the case - wake up and pay attn to those around you who are suffering. There are signs - I just thought that it was odd behavior never looking up the signs that one has prior to suicide. Perhaps we all should read those and take heed.

My very very deepest condolences to his family and friends. I believe it is a matter where we try for the rest of our lives to heal our pain and sorrow. After these years past, I dont believe it can be healed: I've moved to another country to remember my childhood w my mum; I look at her pictures daily; I listen to her messages on my voicemail from years ago - we cant heal - not when you lose someone you love so much. God bless his family.

So very tragic. RIP Andrew and may you find the peace that you searched for here on earth...

My heart goes out to all who knew and cared for Andrew. Many people who, through the grace of God, have been blessed with good mental health, find it difficult to understand just how dark the world can look to a deeply depressed person. I've battled depression for 35 years, and lost several close friends and loved ones to suicide. I find comfort in remembering all of us will die, someday, and those who are already gone -- even those who committed suicide -- weren't really taken from us, so much as they were received by God into a place where they will never again suffer. Mr. and Mrs. Koenig, I am so very sorry for your loss and the pain you must feel. And I'm sorry for the pain your son must have felt. But he is now, finally, at peace. You are in my prayers.

Why is this tragic event in a section called "Ministry of Gossip"? It's irresponsible and disrespectful.

 
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