Shah’s son dies in apparent suicide

The youngest son of Iran’s late shah has been reported dead after apparently committing suicide.

Alireza Pahlavi died at his home in Boston at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday. Police found a man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the city’s South End area, the Independent reports. While there has been no official confirmation of his identity, one officer confirmed that the man was 44-year-old Pahlavi.
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The official was seen late Tuesday afternoon going in and out of Pahlavi’s Boston apartment and speaking with family representatives, who refused to speak to reporters.

The Associated Press cites the president of the National Iranian American Council, Trita Parsi, as saying in a statement that “the Iranian-American community was deeply saddened by the news of this tragedy.

“There are many divisions in the community, but on a day like this, I think we are all united in our sympathy with the Pahlavi family for their tragic and painful loss,” Parsi said.

The son of the late monarch had reportedly been suffering from depression for many years following the death of his sister, Leila, who was found in a London hotel room at age 31 after overdosing on barbiturates in 2001. According to his elder brother Reza, the political state of Iran and being forced to stay in exile also played a large part in Alireza’s depression.

After announcing the death of his brother on his website, Reza added that the Prince was “deeply disturbed by all the ills fallen upon his beloved homeland, as well as carrying the burden of losing a father and a sister in his young life.”

Reza, who had taken on the role of main political figurehead and activist in exile while his youngest brother immersed himself in academia, also took the opportunity to express concern about the regime which now governs his country.

[adsense]”Once again, we are joined with mothers, father and relatives of so many victims of these dark times for our country,” the Associated Press cites.

His concern was highlighted by the sentiments of some other Iranian emigres. One website reader posted:

“Where is God’s justice? Hell is too nice of a place for those who took our country and caused this much suffering.”

News of Alireza’s death resonated through Iranian communities all over the world not only because of the tragic circumstances but also due to the loss of yet another symbolic link to the era prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when extremists overthrew the Western-backed shah.

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency carried a brief story that was the most-viewed early Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. The website of state-run Press TV delivered a factual account of Pahlavi’s death under the headline: “Son of ex-dictator of Iran kills himself.”

Alireza was born in Tehran and attended schools in New York, Cairo and western Massachusetts before going on to study music at an undergraduate at Princeton University, ancient Iranian studies as a graduate student at Columbia University. He also carried out postgraduate work at Harvard University.

Click here to read about techniques for managing depression.

Other celebrities who recently took their own life include NFL star Kenny McKinley, storm-chaser Matt Hughes, financier Mark Madoff, daughter of Mike Hatch, Anne and bullied university freshman Tyler Clementi.

Image: Wikimedia Commons