But he struggled with 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.
“Once again, we are joined with mothers, father and relatives of so many victims of these dark times for our country,” Reza Pahlavi wrote on his website, announcing his brother’s death.
Nazie Eftekhari, who works in Reza Pahlavi’s office in Washington and is a close family friend, said Alireza 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.”
“The deaths were a huge blow to him,” she said.
In Boston, police said they found a man dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after 2 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the city’s South End neighborhood.
Police would not confirm the man’s identity, but a law-enforcement official who was not authorized to release the man’s identity and asked for anonymity confirmed that the man was Alireza Pahlavi.
A police officer was seen late Tuesday afternoon going in and out of Mr. Pahlavi’s Boston apartment and speaking with family representatives, who would not talk to reporters.
A neighbor, Dan Phillips, 42, said he did not know Mr. Pahlavi personally but recognized his picture and described him as someone who was very social and “who always dressed very dapper.”
“I would always see him walking around here and he used to wear blue jeans and a blazer,” Mr. Phillips said.
Trita Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council, said in a statement that “the Iranian-American community was deeply saddened by the news of this tragedy.
“There are many divisions in the community, but on a day like this, I think we are all united in our sympathy with the Pahlavi family for their tragic and painful loss,” Mr. Parsi said.
Reza Pahlavi has spoken out in opposition to Iran’s clerical regime. But he is not thought to carry real influence among Iran’s current opposition leaders, such as Mir Hussein Mousavi, who have challenged the ruling system after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.
The protests and clashes after the vote marked the worst internal unrest in Iran since the Islamic Revolution.
Ms. Eftekhari said no funeral arrangements have yet been made.