October 28, 2008 / 9:03 PM / in 10 years

Jennifer Hudson's nephew died of gunshots

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The 7-year-old nephew of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson died of gunshot wounds, officials said on Tuesday, ruling his death a homicide like those of Hudson’s mother and brother.

Julian King in an undated photo. REUTERS/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/Handout

Julian King died of “multiple gunshot wounds,” the office of Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Nancy Jones announced. The boy’s body was found on Monday in a stolen car abandoned on a Chicago street, four days after the two other members of the entertainer’s family were shot dead in their Chicago home.

The likely time of death was not announced, so it remained unknown whether the boy was killed at the same time as his grandmother and uncle were, or was slain after being abducted.

Police have said they believe the slayings were the result of a domestic dispute, and have named as a “person of interest” a man with whom Jennifer Hudson’s sister Julia — the mother of the dead boy — once had a relationship.

William Balfour, 27, was arrested and is being held for a parole violation.

Hudson returned to Chicago during the weekend after the deaths of her mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29. She has been in seclusion since then but went to the morgue on Monday to make the identification of her nephew’s body.

Her sister Julia wrote of her loss in an entry on her MySpace page on Tuesday, saying that she “took comfort in knowing that Julian is with my mother and my brother and most of all the lord and now he’s my angel protecting me.”

Julia Hudson wrote that love had “cost me my beautiful family, my wonderful beautiful loving supporting mother Darnell, my true blue baby brother Jason...and last but never not least my only son Julian, my innocent baby one that was sheltered from all the evil in the world because we loved him so much.”

She thanked those who had prayed for her and supported her over the last few days.

Jennifer Hudson got her start in 2005 competing on the U.S. television show “American Idol” although she failed to reach the final.

She later won the role of Effie White in the 2006 film version of the stage musical “Dreamgirls” and earned an best supporting actress Oscar for her performance.

Hudson has since appeared in the movie version of “Sex and the City” and is currently in “The Secret Life of Bees.”

Reporting by Michael Conlon and Jill Serjeant; editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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