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Dexter Scott King, son of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., dies of cancer at 62

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ATLANTA (AP) — Dexter Scott King, the younger son of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, died Monday after battling prostate cancer.


The King Center in Atlanta, which Dexter King served as chairman, said the 62-year-old son of the civil rights icon died at his home in Malibu, California. His wife, Leah Weber King, said in a statement that he died “peacefully in his sleep.”

Dexter King, son of Martin Luther King Jr., speaks to the press outlining his family's plan for an interactive museum to be built at the MLK Center in Atlanta, Dec. 28, 1994. Dexter Scott King, the younger son of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, has died after battling prostate cancer. The King Center in Atlanta says the 62-year-old son of the civil rights leader died Monday, Jan. 22, 2024 at his California home after battling prostate cancer. (AP Photo/Leita Cowart)
Dexter King, son of Martin Luther King Jr., speaks to the press outlining his family’s plan for an interactive museum to be built at the MLK Center in Atlanta, Dec. 28, 1994. Dexter Scott King, the younger son of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, has died after battling prostate cancer. The King Center in Atlanta says the 62-year-old son of the civil rights leader died Monday, Jan. 22, 2024 at his California home after battling prostate cancer. (AP Photo/Leita Cowart)


The third of the Kings’ four children, Dexter King was named for the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where his father served as a pastor when the Montgomery bus boycott launched him to national prominence in the wake of the 1955 arrest of Rosa Parks.


Dexter King was just 7 years old when his father was assassinated in April 1968 while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. In his 2004 memoir, “Growing Up King,” Dexter King recalled his father’s slaying as the end of a carefree childhood.


“Ever since I was seven, I’ve felt I must be formal,” he wrote, adding: “Formality, seriousness, certitude — all these are difficult poses to maintain, even if you’re a person with perfect equilibrium, with all the drama life throws at you.”


As an adult, Dexter King became an attorney and focused on shepherding his father’s legacy and protecting the King family’s intellectual property. In addition to serving as chairman of the King Center, he was also president of the King estate.


In addition to his work with the King Center, Dexter King was known for the striking resemblance he bore to his father. They looked so much alike that the son ended up portraying his famous father in a 2002 TV movie about Parks.

The children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, from left, Martin Luther King, Jr. III, Dexter King, Yolanda King and Bernice King stand next to a new crypt dedicated to their parents in Atlanta, Monday Nov. 20, 2006. The King Center in Atlanta said Dexter, the 62-year-old son of the civil rights leader, died Monday, Jan. 22, 2024 at his California home after battling prostate cancer. (AP Photo/W.A. Harewood)
The children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, from left, Martin Luther King, Jr. III, Dexter King, Yolanda King and Bernice King stand next to a new crypt dedicated to their parents in Atlanta, Monday Nov. 20, 2006. The King Center in Atlanta said Dexter, the 62-year-old son of the civil rights leader, died Monday, Jan. 22, 2024 at his California home after battling prostate cancer. (AP Photo/W.A. Harewood)


Coretta Scott King died in 2006, followed by the Kings’ oldest child, Yolanda King, in 2007.
“Words cannot express the heart break I feel from losing another sibling,” the Rev. Bernice A. King, the youngest of the four, said in a statement.


His older brother, Martin Luther King III, said: “The sudden shock is devastating. It is hard to have the right words at a moment like this. We ask for your prayers at this time for the entire King family.”


Via Associated Press. From more news on Dexter Scott King courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here. You can also check out the Indiana Minority Business Magazine here.

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