Poet Sylvia Plath's Son Commits Suicide

Poet Sylvia Plath's Son Commits Suicide
Sylvia Plath, holding son Nicholas Hughes, in 1962
Everett Collection

03/23/2009 AT 03:00 PM EDT

The son of poet Sylvia Plath followed in his famous mother's tragic footsteps by committing suicide.

Nicholas Hughes, 47, hanged himself at his home in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Monday, March 16, the Associated Press reports a week later. His death comes 46 years after his mother committed suicide and nearly 40 years after his stepmother, Assia Wevill, did the same.

Hughes's sister, Frieda Hughes, issued a statement professing her "profound sorrow" and saying that her younger brother "had been battling depression for some time."

Hughes, an evolutionary biologist, worked at University of Alaska Fairbanks for nearly a decade before leaving the position about a year ago. He had no children and was not married.

Hughes was just a baby in 1963 when Plath, a poet and author of The Bell Jar, killed herself. Hughes's father was the poet Ted Hughes, who died of cancer in 1998.

Of Nicholas Hughes, Plath once wrote: "You are the one/Solid the spaces lean on, envious/You are the baby in the barn."

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