"It is with deep sorrow and overwhelming heartbreak that I regretfully share the news that my beautiful, talented, 24 year old son, Julian 'Jewels' St. John, passed away on November 23," said Kristoff. "He suffered from schizophrenia for many years and tragically lost his life just a few days before Thanksgiving, and two weeks before his 25th birthday. His legacy will live on in our hearts and for those that continue to suffer from this insidious disease. My ex-wife Mia, Julian's sisters Paris and Lola and I, are all devastated beyond words and belief. We mourn the loss of our son, brother, artist poet, and a giant of a young man. A beautiful life gone much too soon. Julian will forever be remembered as he now takes flight with Angels."
According to Radar Online, Julian was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a Long Beach facility. While his passing was possibly the result of suicide, the official cause of death has yet to be determined. Julian was an artist who created paintings, pastels and pencil drawings. His work was profiled in a 2013 Huffington Post article by journalist and mental health activist Robert David Jaffee.
"Julian knows what it is like to feel lonely, off-kilter and claustrophobic," Robert wrote. "He has endured bouts of severe depression since he was a child. And for a stretch of time in the recent past he was homeless, sleeping in the bathrooms of public parks and occasionally in motels. He has battled addiction issues and has had scrapes with the law.
"But Julian also has a searing talent. His paintings and drawings call to mind the work of another depressed artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, who also spent time living on the streets and in parks while grappling with drug addiction. Like the paintings of Basquiat, Julian's art often includes text crammed next to images of African-American protagonists in an urban setting."
Julian's mom Mia, a boxer, posted a statement on Sqor Sports, a social media website for athletes, thanking those that have reached out to the family.
"On behalf of myself and Kristoff St. John, we want to thank everyone for your condolences," Mia wrote. "While nothing can remove our pain at the moment, we find solace in your messages and knowing how much our son, Julian St. John was loved. Funeral services will be held on his birthday, December 5 at 3pm in Westlake, California."
Mia has long fought against the stigmas associated with mental health disorders and opened up about her own struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic attacks. Her son's illness only made this issue more important to her.
"[Julian] fought long and hard against an illness for which there is no cure," Mia wrote in another post on Sqor Sports. "Unfortunately, the pain became too great for him and I dare not say he lost the battle -- he simply chose to set
himself free. My fight for mental health will continue. They may not find a cure in my lifetime, but we can try and prevent the loss of another beautiful soul."