Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of Coretta and Martin Luther King Jr. died today at the age of 62 battling prostrate cancer, while residing at his Malibu home in California. His death was about eight days shy of his 63rd birthday.
According to The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, King's wife, Leah Weber King of 11 years, commented on the passing of King:
"He transitioned peacefully in his sleep at home with me in Malibu," Weber King said. "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."
King moved to California from Atlanta in 2000; he split his time between Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as chairman of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and Malibu, California. He married wife, Weber, in 2013 in Malibu, Calif. Weber King is a New Orleans native, former broadcast journalist, entrepreneur, and consultant.
His sister, Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center, expressed the loss of losing a sibling.
“Words cannot express the heart break 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 to the sentiment.
‘‘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“.
His early life
Born in Atlanta on January 30, 1961, he was named after Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama, where his father served his first pastorate, according to The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The 62-year-old was the second-born son of Dr. & Mrs. King and was only seven years old when his father was assassinated in Memphis, TN in 1968. Like his father, he 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 organizations. He then he followed his father’s footsteps to Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia.
The son of the Civil Rights icons was the family member delegated to take on the mantel of continuing the precedent his father set by legally protecting his work. He devoted his life to the continued perpetuation of his father’s legacy and the protection of the intellectual property (IP) his father left behind. At the time of his death Dexter served as both Chairman of The King Center and President of the King Estate. Becoming well versed in intellectual property law, and its management and licensing was the result of his dedication to the delegated task and the memory of both his father and mother.
An uncanny resemblance
Known to be humble about his uncanny resemblance to his father, he portrayed him in the 2002 television movie, "The Rosa Parks Story," and even voiced his father's 34-year-old self in the 1999 educational film, "Our Friend, Martin." The actor had a love for the creative arts and initially relocated to California to pursue a career in acting while also pursuing his duties to the King family legacy.
A memorial service will be announced at a later time.