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Son Of Ex-Iranian Shah Says Brother Had Depression

The oldest son of the former shah of Iran says his family is grateful for the support it has received since his younger brother committed suicide after years of battling depression.

Reza Pahlavi speaks about his brother's suicide from the Copley Plaza in Boston Wednesday. (Bianca Vazquez Toness/WBUR)
Reza Pahlavi speaks about his brother's suicide from the Copley Plaza in Boston Wednesday. (Bianca Vazquez Toness/WBUR)

Alireza Pahlavi was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday at his Boston residence. On Wednesday, his brother, Reza Pahlavi, fought back tears as he remembered his younger brother and spoke about how depression has had tragic consequences in his family.

Reza Pahlavi said his 44-year-old brother, who apparently lived in Boston in relative seclusion for years, had struggled with depression for years, but he had no indication of what had caused him to take his own life.

He said their forced exile from Iran traumatized his brother. Alireza Pahlavi was only 12 when their late father, former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"I can imagine that for such young kids, it would be so much harder to deal with and what happens as a result — and something that never leaves them," Reza Pahlavi said.

The family will likely hold a memorial service in the Washington, D.C. area.

Reza Pahlavi also spoke of the 2001 death of his sister, Leila, who overdosed on barbiturates.

WBUR's Bianca Vazquez Toness contributed reporting.

This program aired on January 5, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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