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Apparent suicide takes life of younger son of last shah of Iran

The younger son of the last shah of Iran was found dead Tuesday of an apparent suicide in his home in Boston, after he had "struggled for years to overcome his sorrow," his brother said.

"Once again, we are joined with mothers, fathers and relatives of so many victims of these dark times for our country," Reza Pahlavi, the shah's oldest son, wrote on his website in announcing the death of his brother, Alireza Pahlavi.

Pahlavi, 44, died from a single gunshot wound that was apparently self-inflicted, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney's Office.

Boston police said officers responding to a 911 call found the man dead shortly after 2 a.m. Tuesday in his home in the city's South End neighborhood. A police spokesman did not know who made the call or whether it came from the home.

Fardia Pars, who is close to Reza Pahlavi, said by phone from Paris that Alireza Pahlavi went into a deep depression following the death of his sister Leila in 2001, who was found in a London hotel room at age 31 after overdosing on barbiturates.

Alireza Pahlavi never recovered, Pars said.

Pahlavi's depression "grew over time -- his departure from Iran, living in exile, the death of his father and then his sister to whom he was very close," said Nazie Eftekhari, who works in Reza Pahlavi's office in Washington and is a close family friend.

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic revolution. He fled Iran and wandered from country to country, ill with cancer, and eventually died in Egypt in 1980.

Alireza Pahlavi was born in 1966 in Tehran, where he attended school until 1979, according to a brief biographical sketch on the website of his mother, the former empress Farah Pahlavi.

From 1979 to 1981, Pahlavi attended schools in New York and Cairo, and from 1981 to 1984 he attended Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, Mass.

Pahlavi studied music as an undergraduate at Princeton University and ancient Iranian studies as a graduate student at Columbia University.

He also did postgraduate work at Harvard University in ancient Iranian studies and philology. Pahlavi was not studying at the university at the time of his death, a Harvard spokesman said Tuesday.

Reza Pahlavi, who is based in the United States, has spoken out against Iran's clerical regime.

But he said in 2009 that he is not aiming to restore the monarchy.

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