Today (Jan. 22), The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change — also known as The King Center — announced that Dexter Scott King, the youngest son and third child of Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, has passed away at the age of 62 following a “valiant battle with prostate cancer.”
“He transitioned peacefully in his sleep at home with me in Malibu,” said Dexter’s wife, Leah Weber King, in an adjoining statement. “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.”
Dr. Bernice A. King, Dexter’s sister and current CEO of The King Center, added, “Words cannot express the heartbreak I feel from losing another sibling. I’m praying for strength to get through this very difficult time.” Brother Martin Luther King III called the news ‘‘devastating.”
Dexter was only 7 years old when his father was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to residing in California with his family, he also held the positions of president and chairman at The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. As an actor, he voiced a younger version of Martin Luther King in the 1999 film, Our Friend, Martin, before portraying him in 2002’s The Rosa Parks Story.
During a 50th anniversary segment on “CBS Mornings,” Dexter recalled when he learned about his father’s fatal shooting. “[Martin Luther King III] and I, we were watching television, and even to this day, when I see a breaking news flash, I have PTSD,” he explained. “You see your father being shot on television. That’s very traumatic.”
The King family has requested privacy at this time and plans to hold a press conference on Tuesday (Jan. 23) in The King Center’s Yolanda D. King Theatre. A memorial service will also be confirmed at a future date.