ATLANTA–The Atlanta community is mourning the death of Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of the late Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dexter Scott King passed away at his home in Malibu, California after a 3 ½-year battle with prostate cancer on Monday, Jan. 22. He was 62.
Dexter King’s wife of 11 years, Leah Weber King, said in a statement that he transitioned “peacefully in his sleep.”
Bernice King, the youngest of the four King siblings, wept as she shared memories of Dexter King. She said that Martin, III, her only surviving sibling, wanted to be with her at the press conference but was out of the country. The family was able to share the news of Dexter’s death with Martin III, his wife, Arndrea, and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King, before the news was released to the public, Bernice King said. Yolanda, who was in school at the time, is the first and only grandchild of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The four King siblings include Yolanda (who died of cardiac arrest on May 15, 2007 at age 51 ); Martin III; Dexter; and Bernice.
Bernice King said plans for a memorial service for Dexter Scott King would be announced later. He was cremated after his death on Monday per his wishes, she said.
“As you can imagine, this is perhaps the hardest thing for me to do. I love you, Dexter,” said a tearful Bernice King, who was flanked by family members. “Appreciate your leadership, your love. On yesterday, my big baby brother, who was two years older than me, as we announced from the King Center, passed away in his sleep after a 3 1/2-year battle with prostate cancer. He tried with everything in him to defeat it. Fought to the very last minute.”
Dexter King had served as chairman of the King Center in Atlanta and Bernice King said that in the coming days, a new chairman would be elected. She asked for prayers as the family moves forward to continue to preserve the King legacy.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens was among the many dignitaries in Georgia who paid tribute to Dexter Scott King.
“I stand with Atlanta and so many worldwide in grieving the loss of Dexter Scott King. His profound and unwavering love for his family positioned him as a guardian of his father and mother’s legacies. Dexter held various titles—Morehouse Man, humanitarian, Civil Rights activist, and even actor. However, above all, he was a devoted family man. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Leah Weber King, Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, their entire extended family, and all who knew and loved him,” said Dickens.
State Rep. Carl Gilliard (D-Savannah), chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, issued the following statement:
“We the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus offer our condolences on the passing of Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A graduate of Morehouse College, King worked as chairman of The King Center and president of the King Estate. As a friend to the King family, we ask that you please keep the entire King family in your prayers and, in particular, Dexter’s wife, Leah Weber.”
The Atlanta City Council issued the following statement after the passing of Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Coretta Scott King:
“Dexter Scott King’s life and contributions will leave a lasting impact on the legacy of the King family and the broader struggle for equality and justice. We express our sincere condolences to his wife Leah Weber King, Martin Luther King III, Dr. Bernice King, the King Center, and all who cherished him. His contributions to civil rights and his role as a member of Atlanta’s beloved family will leave an indelible mark on our society. His memory will be a source of inspiration and may those in mourning find solace and comfort at this difficult time.”
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to thekingcenter.org or text mlk95@44321 to donate.
Image above via thekingcenter.org.