Sawyer Sweeten Mourned: TV Dad Ray Romano's 'Heart Breaks' for 'a Wonderful and Sweet Kid'
Following his suicide at the age of 19, Sawyer Sweeten’s family and Everybody Loves Raymond costars have spoken out about the loss.
“I’m shocked and terribly saddened by the news about Sawyer,” said Sweeten’s TV dad, Ray Romano, in a statement released to PEOPLE. “He was a wonderful and sweet kid to be around. Just a great energy whenever he was there. My heart breaks for him, his family and his friends during this very difficult time.”
Sweeten’s TV mom also shared her condolences with PEOPLE: “Sawyer was a funny and exceptionally bright young man. He is gone from us far too soon,” said Patricia Heaton. “The loss the Sweeten family is experiencing is unimaginable. Tonight hug your children a little tighter and please keep Sawyer and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Sawyer was visiting family in Texas on Thursday when he died of an apparent suicide, according to reports.
On Raymond, Sawyer played Geoffrey Barone alongside twin brother Sullivan, who played Michael. The twins began acting on the show when they were just 16 months old, playing the younger brothers of real-life sister Madylin, who played Ally.
“At this time I would like to encourage everyone to reach out to the ones you love,” wrote Madylin on her Facebook page. “Let them have no doubt of what they mean to you.”
In a longer statement released to PEOPLE, Madylin wrote that the family is “devastated” over the “terrible family tragedy”: “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.”
Doris Roberts, who played Sawyer’s grandmother on Raymond, wrote on her own Facebook page that Sawyer was “a very sweet young man who will be dearly missed. Make sure your loved ones know how much you care about them, and please check in with them if you haven’t touched base with them for a while. It’s very important to keep in touch.”
“We knew and loved Sawyer as a little boy. He and his real-life siblings Sullivan and Madylin were such a charming, integral part of our TV family,” added Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal in a statement released to Entertainment Tonight. “They never failed to make us laugh, or remind of us how we feel about our own children. We are terribly sad to hear this news and our hearts go out to Sawyer’s family.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will connect you, 24/7, with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.