June 13th, 2011
04:41 PM ET

Leader of May 21 doomsday movement suffers stroke

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Harold Camping, the leader of the apocalyptic movement that predicted the end of the world would begin on May 21, has suffered a stroke, according to a statement on his ministry's web site on Tuesday.

Camping suffered a "mild stroke" last Thursday, according to the statement posted on the website of Family Radio, Camping's California-based broadcast ministry.

"Mr. Camping is receiving excellent care, and the doctors treating him are encouraged with the progress he is making," the statement said. "Mr. Camping's family appreciates everyone's thoughts and prayers."

“This was all we were told to tell everyone,” an operator at Family Radio said Monday, after she read the same statement that later appeared on Family Radio's website.

The operator, who would not give her name, said she and Family Radio’s other operators came to work Monday morning to find the statement from the Camping family on their desks.

For months, Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to the earth on May 21 and that a select 2% to 3% of the world’s population would be raptured, or taken to heaven.

Watch as the apocalypse flops and the Rapture leader wonders what went wrong

Those left behind would face months of tribulation before perishing in the Earth's destruction, which Camping said would happen on October 21.

Camping, who is reported to be 89, spread the word through a national billboard campaign and caravans of RVs that toured the country spreading the doomsday message.

When his prediction failed to pan out, Camping took the radio airwaves to say that he had misinterpreted the nature of the rapture but that the world would still end on October 21.

“We've always said October 21 was the day," Camping said. "The only thing we didn't understand was the spirituality of May 21. We're seeing this as a spiritual thing happening rather than a physical thing happening. The timing, the structure, the proofs, none of that has changed at all."

Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958. It received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009.

He first inaccurately predicted the world would end in 1994. Despite his poor track record, he has gathered many followers. Some gave up their homes, entire life savings and jobs because they believed the world was ending.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: End times

soundoff (1,171 Responses)
  1. MikeMV

    PLEASE GOD: Let this guy live... until October 22.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Artist

      He planned to, majority of his money is long term investments lol

      June 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Jesus

      The stroke was only "mild". It did not impact the part of the brain that deals with prognosticating the future or fleecing people of their money.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Texan

      This decrepit, old coot surely must have reached his "15-minutes of fame" quota by now. Reporting on the "mild" ailments and ridiculous predictions of an 89-year old is just plain silly.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • God

      I don't listen to prayers. I don't even exist. Why are stupid people talking to me????

      June 14, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  2. magick727

    I think we need to start holding the doomsdayers responsible. If you want to make a public proclamation that the world will end on such a specific date, you should be willing to agree to execution on sunrise the "day after" if you turn-out to be wrong.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Melvin

      you're dumb.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • jesusisfake


      June 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Jorge

      Dude, is anybody responsible that there's a sucker born every minute?

      June 14, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Huhu

      That's a very good idea.

      June 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  3. Artist

    It is hard to feel sorry for a scam artist. I am sure his long term investments will go towards his family. Its even harder to feel sorry for the fools who listen to his show and believe his line of crap.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Artist: It is hard, I agree. But compassion needs no boundaries. We need to remind ourselves of this guy's humanity even if we disagree with him or find him personally distasteful.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Texan

      Froglist...It isn't "humane" to scam ignorant people into believing the world is ending. Some of his victims gave up pets, homes, and processions because they were "believers".

      June 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  4. Mik

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking... according to HIM... isn't there somewhere better to be... obviously his family and the ambulance guys didn't get the DNR memo YIKES!

    June 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  5. coder

    $80 million in contributions. I wonder how many hungry children that would have fed in the united states.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • che-3

      How many? Trillions! And there will still be enough left in the Bank to pay for their college education to realize their dreams and contribute to society three folds. Instead, he has the money locked up in a Bank vault with his Holy Bible sitting on top of.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  6. bloodthorne

    The power of christ compels you, b!tch

    June 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Jesus

      WOW! How'd you get by the censor?

      June 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Sutler

      Its easy bltch!

      June 14, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  7. katmoondaddy

    So instead of The Rapture old Harold got a Rupture!

    June 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • The Dude2

      We've got a BINGO!

      June 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Frogist


      June 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  8. Doomguy

    Guess he didn't see that one coming.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  9. Burbank

    There's one born every minute...

    June 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  10. BlackDynamiteNYC

    Instant Karma for this snake-oil salesman

    June 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  11. FatherofLies

    Ah, he meant his own doomsday. He was close at least.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  12. James

    I guess he missed the signals from God on that one.........

    June 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  13. BLite

    They better keep him alive until October 22.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  14. John Cougar

    Only in the USA...and some African countries!!!

    June 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  15. mdc

    I'll bet he didn't see that coming.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  16. mike

    beware of the false profit.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • SB

      You imply that there are true prophets.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • FSM4LIFE

      His "profits" are real enough. $80 million from idiots being duped. Now if you meant "prophets," they're all false, particularly the Biblical ones.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • blackcurry

      I think you meant "prophet", but your way kinda works, too. LOL

      June 14, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  17. Matt

    Wait – he got MEDICAL TREATMENT? Guess he doesn't put *that* much faith in his imaginary friend in the sky...

    June 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Joe

      I feel sorry for you.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Why do you spend any money on medical care? You have the promise of god:

      Mark 11:24: Jesus speaking
      Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

      John 14:14: Jesus speaking
      If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

      Mark 16: Jesus speaking
      16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.

      James 5:15:
      And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.

      Believers babble on about faith and belief and how the bible is the inerrant word of god.
      Yet, most ignore His word, and buy health insurance and seek the knowledge of man.

      They are tweaking the nose of god!

      Some, have actually believed what the bible tells them. They prayed for their child, trusting in the word of god, and withheld medical care. The child died. OOOooopsie!
      Not to fret! This was part of god's plan for the young'in.?

      A true believer would never set foot in a doctor's office!

      But, they do. They seek medical care, because they don't believe the promises of god. They know, that in the real world, prayer rarely works (exception: coincidence / random chance).

      Believers attempt to smooth this over by saying a little prayer, receiving medical treatment and then giving the credit to their god, if they get well... Hmm...

      If you can't believe the bible concerning healing and not worrying about tomorrow, how can you believe it about all the rest? If you can't count on Jesus to keep His promises in this life, why would you believe Him about an afterlife? LOL


      June 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Artist

      David, in addition, Lucifer and the 3rd of the angels is evidence of a god lacking power and influence. Why in the heck would anybody worship a pathetic god? His own son had to kill himself for his father's failure. If the bible is to be considered evidence then let the evidence show how pathetic and human god really is.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Christians bestow upon their god, the attributes of Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnibenevolence.
      Never mind, that it would not be possible for any being to be all three of these at the same time.

      A god who is all knowing and by definition, cannot be defeated, would have made a coup attempt impossible. He would of seen them coming...before they even existed.

      Satan and his gang, would have known of god's attributes, they lived in Heaven with Him.

      Either the Christians are wrong about their god's characteristics, or this Satan coup attempt is pure fiction.

      If god is not all powerful, and all knowing, then why call Him god?


      June 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  18. Chris

    The Lord acts in mysterious ways 🙂

    June 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Simpleton

      looks like his estimated date for profit, oh, I mean profit date, was only off a few weeks, just involved fewer people than he anticipated.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • One Eared Puppy on Crack doing the Moonwalk Sideways

      So does my crap but I don't worship it.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  19. Revenge of the Mildly Angry Kittens from Beyond Hell

    It's a shame that he did not suffer a sudden onset on sanity.

    June 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • SB

      That is unfortunately a very rare condition these days.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Mira

      Interesting name – very Original! LOL

      June 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  20. nitrous


    June 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.