A pastor who taught at a baptist seminary in New Orleans killed himself just days after his name was exposed by the Ashley Madison hack, his wife of 30 years told CNN.
Christi Gibson described finding the body of her husband, John, in their on-campus home at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on Aug. 24, days after his name was among the millions of identities revealed to have signed up for Ashley Madison, a website for those seeking extramarital affairs.
"It was a moment that life doesn't prepare you for," Christi Gibson said. "I had to call my kids. How do you tell your kids that their dad is gone and that he took his own life?"
John Gibson is survived by his wife and their two adult children, Trey and Callie.
Christi told CNN that her husband's suicide note detailed the demons he was fighting, in particular those regarding Ashley Madison. BuzzFeed News has reached out to her for additional information.
"He talked about depression. He talked about having his name on there, and he said he was just very, very sorry," Christi said. "What we know about him is that he poured his life into other people, and he offered grace and mercy and forgiveness to everyone else, but somehow he couldn't extend that to himself."
She added he was probably worried about losing his job. The 56-year-old was known at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Leavell College as a great teacher, with many of his students writing online how they would miss him.
"We all have things that we struggle with, but it wasn't so bad that we wouldn't have forgiven it," Christi told CNN. "But for John, it carried such a shame, and he just couldn't see that."
John had previously struggled with addiction and depression, his wife said.
A Louisiana native, John was born into a long line of Baptist ministers, according to NOBTS. He earned a master's degree in divinity and a doctorate in theology from the college, where he had worked since 1998. At the time of his death, he was also a pastor at the First Southern Baptist Church in Mississippi.
Christi said that she hoped people would not "underestimate the power of love."
"Nothing is worth the loss of a father and a husband and a friend," she added. "It just didn't merit it. It didn't merit it at all."
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.