After offering advice to thousands of callers, you can imagine that Delilah Rene has heard it all. To be able to help her listeners deal with troubling times and pick the perfect song to lift them up, Delilah has faced all sorts of relationship issues, divorce, family drama, and the loss of a son due to illness. Now she is struggling to cope with the tragic suicide of her other son, Zachariah.
The "most listened-to woman in America" shared an announcement on her Facebook page to her 1.4 million fans.
“My dear friends, I need to share some devastating news with you. In the early morning hours, Tuesday, October 3, my son Zachariah, took his life,” she wrote. “He was being treated, counseled, and embraced fiercely by family and friends while battling depression for some time now. My heart is broken beyond repair and I can not fathom how to go on…but I have to believe he is at peace with the Lord and that God will get us through,” she continued.
The 57-year-old radio host, known simply as Delilah said, that she would be taking a break from her show to help cope with her loss.
“I will be absent from the radio and on social media for a time as I grieve and try to process this loss with my family. In the meantime we’ll be playing some of my favorite shows from the recent past. I’ll look forward to my return, as you all lift me up so very much,” she added. “Please pray for my beloved Zacky, and I will pray for all suffering from this debilitating disease called depression,” she wrote.
Delilah doesn't have a history of taking a break from work and her devoted fans. She was reportedly back on the mic only 18 hours after giving birth to Zachariah.
This is not the first time Delilah has experienced the loss of a child.
In 2012, the mother of 13 lost her son Sammy from complications related to sickle-cell anemia.
“My son Sammy passed from this world today into heaven, but he left behind a piece of his amazing soul in all that met him. As painful as this moment is, I am so so so so so thankful that God allowed me, my family and friends to experience the essence of his soul for the past two years,” she wrote in her announcement of her son’s death. “Everyone who met him was blessed by his big heart, his silly character voices, his wonderful sense of humor and his kindness towards all. He was a precious, precious young man and I praise the Lord that I was allowed to be bathed in Sammy’s love as his “MommaBear”…we have been forever changed by having him in our lives.”
Deliliah's personal life has not only been filled with loss, but with life-changing challenges as well.
When she was only 22-years-old she married her first husband, a year after meeting.
“My first husband was charming, funny, handsome, hard-working and a complete alcoholic and womanizer,” she told PEOPLE in February. “We met when I was 21, married at 22, pregnant at 23, a mom at 24, separated at 25 and divorced before I turned 26. That’s when he left me with our son and his two children from a previous marriage.”
After her marriage ended, her parents were not interested in a relationship with her because she claims they disowned her for marrying an African-American man.
Only a few years later, she married again, which ultimately ended in heartbreak, as well.
“I jumped out of the frying pan into the fire and at 28 I was married for less than two months to a man who turned out to be a cocaine and heroin user,” she said.
She did have a third unsuccessful marriage, but she also became the mother to 13 children; 3 of which biological, 10 she welcomed through adoption.
Delilah has since married Paul Warner, a man she says “rarely drinks, doesn’t use drugs and adores me with all of his being.”
The couple however, live six and a half hours apart because of their careers.
“Some folks wonder how we manage to keep our relationship strong living so far apart, but I suspect it may be the secret to our success!” she said. “I’m not the easiest woman to live with and I’ve still got five minor children at home. My youngest daughter is in second grade, so my home is always chaotic with kids, crafts, pets and horses. Not many men would sign up to marry a woman who has 13 children!”
She does take her challenges in life with stride and find a way to channel her struggle into helping others.
“Between failed marriages, racism, adopted kids, blended families and all the other challenges I’ve faced, I think it gives me more wisdom and compassion when it comes to the calls I take from my listeners,” she said.