*Sources close to late actor Lee Thompson Young tell E! News he had suffered from depression for some time leading up to his apparent suicide.
The “Rizzoli & Isles” star, who was 29 at the time of his death on Aug. 19, “didn’t drink or party,” says a source, adding, “He was the opposite. Lee loved to travel and was always the first to tell everyone to take a breath and enjoy the beauty of life.” He was always “gentle and unassuming,” despite his early success, and didn’t have the typical “look-at-me” attitude.
That said, those close to Young noticed things “really changed” a few years ago when he began practicing Yorùbá, an Africa-based religion which has a saying, “iku ya j’esin,” meaning “death is preferable to ignominy.”
According to E! News, some have questioned whether this means that suicide is an acceptable way to preserve personal or family honor in the face of public shame.
However, Yorùbá culture icon and Chief Priest of Osogbo, Araba Ifayemi Osundagbonu Elebuibon, told the National Mirror earlier this year that the religion “[does] not support suicide. Their belief is that if somebody commits suicide, they will be punished in the hereafter.”
The Famous Jett Jackson star “took [his religion] to the next level and started wearing white all of the time,” says a source, adding, “This religion was everything to him.” Although he reportedly took a break from practicing Yorùbá, he recently returned to the religion. Just before his death, he visited a small village in Africa for something reportedly related to the religion.
It should be noted that Yorùbá more commonly refers to the West African tribe which is made up of Christians, Muslims and a multitude of people from different faiths.