Martin Luther King Jr’s youngest son dies aged 62

Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of famed civil rights activist Dr Martin Luther King Jr, has died at the age of 62.

King died “peacefully” on Monday at his California home after a battle with prostate cancer, according to the King Center in Atlanta.

He was named for the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Alabama where his father once served as pastor, and he was just 7 years old when his father was assassinated in 1968.

A statement from his wife of 11 years, Leah Weber King, said that King “transitioned peacefully in his sleep at home with me in Malibu.”

“He gave it everything and battled this terrible disease until the end. As with all the challenges in his life, he faced this hurdle with bravery and might,” she said. The pair married in a private ceremony in 2013.

Born in Atlanta on 30 January 1961, Dexter King grew up in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where his grandfather served as pastor.

He was a graduate of Frederick Douglas High School, where he played football and participated in many other school organisations.

He then followed his father’s footsteps to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and became the family member “delegated to take on the mantel of continuing the precedent his father set by legally protecting his work,” according to the King Center.

King devoted his life to the continued perpetuation of his father’s legacy and the protection of the intellectual property (IP) his father left behind.

King died ‘peacefully’ on Monday at his California home after a battle with prostate cancer


At the time of his death, he served as both chairman of The King Center and president of the King Estate.

Known also for his uncanny resemblance to his father, he portrayed him in the 2002 made-for-television movie The Rosa Parks Story.

He had hoped to pursue a career in the creative arts and initially relocated to California to pursue a career in acting. However, he ultimately answered the family call and lived out the rest of his life balancing both his love of the arts and his duties to the King family legacy.

His sister Reverend Dr Bernice A King, CEO of The King Center stated “Words cannot express the heartbreak I feel from losing another sibling. I’m praying for strength to get through this very difficult time”.

His brother Martin Luther King, III added: “The sudden shock is devastating. It is hard to have the right words at a moment like this. We ask for your prayers at this time for the entire King family.”

King is survived by his wife, his sister Rev Dr Bernice A King, his brother Martin Luther King, III, his niece, Yolanda Renee King and a host of immediate and extended family members.

Multiple tributes to King were paid online, including from former US president Barack Obama, who wrote: “Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Dexter Scott King. Dexter was the youngest son of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and dedicated his life to protecting their legacy.

“As Chairman of The King Center, he inspired a new generation to continue their work for justice and equality. Our thoughts are with his wife Leah and the entire King family.”

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