Dexter Scott King, the youngest son and third child of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, passed away on Monday after battling prostate cancer, the King Center announced in a statement on Monday.
“He transitioned peacefully in his sleep at home with me in Malibu,” the deceased 62-year-old’s wife, Leah 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.”
Dexter’s sister, Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, also said “words cannot express the heart break I feel from losing another sibling. I’m praying for strength to get through this very difficult time.”
“I am deeply saddened to share that my brother, Dexter Scott King, has passed away,” the deceased Civil Rights activist’s brother, Martin Luther King III, added in a statement. “The sudden shock is devastating. It is hard to have the right words at a moment like this. Please keep the entire King family in your prayers, and in particular Dexter’s wife, Leah Weber.”
Dexter was only 7 years old when his father was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis. In a previous interview with CNN, he said he learned about the shooting while watching TV with his brother. “It was a very chaotic and traumatic period,” he recalled.
Dexter’s passing also comes after the deaths of his mother and sister Yolanda Denise King. Coretta died in 2006 while Yolanda passed away the following year. He is now 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,” the statement said.
The deceased Civil Rights activist graduated from Morehouse College and served as chairman of The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Dexter’s mother set up the non-profit organization after her husband was killed. Dexter was also the president of the King Estate. He held both positions at the time of his death.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
Dexter is also remembered for portraying his father in the 2002 movie, “The Rosa Parks Story.” Besides his Civil Rights activism, Dexter was a staunch animal rights advocate and a vegan. He likened his nonviolent beliefs to his eating habits in a 1995 interview with The Vegetarian Times.
“There is a connection between how you live life and how you treat others,” he said at the time. “It starts with the individual.”