Dexter King, Son of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Dies at 62

The third and youngest of the Civil Rights icon’s four children, he was in charge of the family’s estate.

Dexter King, the youngest son of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King, has died after a battle with prostate cancer, The King Center announced on Monday (Jan. 22). King, 62, passed away at his home in California, according to reports.“

He transitioned peacefully in his sleep at home with me in Malibu,” said wife, Leah Weber King, WSB reported. “He gave it everything and battled this terrible disease until the end. As with all the challenges in his life, he faced this hurdle with bravery and might.”

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., at Stanford University, April 14, 1967

Looking Back At Martin Luther King’s ‘The Other America’ Speech At Stanford

The third of King’s four children, he was named after Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, where his father was pastor in the 1950s and where much of the modern Civil Rights Movement was launched. He was only seven years old when his father was assassinated April 4, 1968  in Memphis, Tenn.

After following his father’s footsteps to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, he went on to be an attorney and continued with his mother and siblings to push forward his father’s message of human rights.

He also served as chairman of the King Center and president of the King estate, responsible for protection of its intellectual property. King was also an actor and because of his resemblance to his father, he portrayed him in the 2002 television film “The Rosa Parks Story,” co-starring with Angela Bassett.

He also authored a recounting of his life as part of such an important family in the Civil Rights Movement titled, Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoirwhich was published in 2003. In the book he recounted his early memories of his father’s relationship with him and his siblings.“

Most people might think, because of the way he projected as such a serious person, that he was always so,” King wrote, “or the balance of that; he needed an outlet, a way to break the tension. He sought refuge in his children, his family. He became us.”

King’s family expressed their grief upon learning of his death and asked for prayers from the public, which has for decades seen his family as leaders in various human rights causes.

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

His younger sister, Bernice King posted on X (formerly Twitter), also expressing her shock in losing her brother.

In a statement Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network offered his condolences to the King family.

Dexter King is the second of the King siblings to pass away. The oldest, Yolanda King, died at age 51 in 2007. His mother, Corretta Scott King died in 2006 at age 78.

Along with his wife and two siblings, King is survived by a niece, Yolanda Renee King, the daughter of Martin Luther King III.

Editor’s Note: This story will be updated.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.