Sawyer Sweeten, the actor who played Ray Romano's son on the hit TV show Everybody Loves Raymond, has died at the age of 19. A representative for the teenager has confirmed his passing. Sawyer is believed to have taken his own life while visiting family in Texas on Thursday.
In a statement to E! News, Ray said he was "shocked and terribly saddened" by the tragic news. "He was a wonderful and sweet kid to be around," he said. "My heart breaks for him, his family and his friends during this difficult time." And Sawyer’s onscreen mother Patricia Heaton has also paid tribute to the young star. "Sawyer Sweeten was a funny and exceptionally bright young man," she wrote on her Facebook page. "He is gone from us far too soon."
Sawyer and his twin brother Sullivan played Geoffrey and Michael Barone on the Emmy-winning sitcom, which ran from 1996 until 2005. Their older sister Madylin Sweeten also starred on the show as their sibling Ally Barone. Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton played their parents Ray and Debra Barone.
"This morning a terrible family tragedy has occurred," Madylin, 23, said in a statement on Thursday. "We are devastated to report that our beloved brother, son and friend Sawyer Sweeten took his own life. He was weeks away from his 20th birthday. At this sensitive time, our family requests privacy and we beg of you to reach out to the ones you love."
Just a few hours earlier on Thursday, Madylin posted a poignant message on her Facebook page. "At this time I would like to encourage anyone to reach out to the ones you love," she wrote. "Let them have no doubt of what they mean to you."
Sawyer and Sullivan were just 16-months-old when they first appeared on Everyone Loves Raymond. The two brothers did not continue to act after the show wrapped in 2005, although their sister did go on to appear in a few films, including Eagle Eye and American Splendor. The trio last appeared together publicly at the 8th annual TV Land Awards in 2010.