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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. Emerson

    God does exist, He is in control, and He has a plan!

    June 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • FSM4LIFE

      Sure he does. Sit back and do nothing while his creations destroy themselves, and then be spiteful and threaten eternal punishment. Why are we to be punished by the "creator," when HE is the one who supposedly created us imperfectly? Seems a bit hypocritical, doesn't it? Unicorns and dragons are a cooler fairy tale than god. They don't get nearly the credit they deserve.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • God

      I don't have a plan, I'm not in control, and I don't exist. *pop*

      June 14, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  2. Johnnyhurst

    Youll be thinking silly bananaspy when you stand in front of your creator and give an account for the words you speak, that could cause folks to doubt their faith. Whether you believe it or not, one day, every knee shall bend every head shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Lord.
    Wasnt funny what this old man was predicting because he was preaching a false doctrine, and there are many false ways. The bad thing is he may have ruined many folks faith. You see he is what is called an evil sheperd. For your sake, maybe you should rethink your belief and give Gods word a good look. I hope you come to believe someday.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • tehSuxXorcist

      believing in fairy tales is fine, but shoving it everybody's face like a deranged lunatic isn't cool. drink your kool-aid in private, church freak.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Howard

      You sold all your worldly possessions and drove around the country in a wrapped RV, didn't ya?
      In the immortal words of P.T. Barnum.......

      June 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Sean

      @Johnnyhurst
      Spare us your phony piety.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • FSM4LIFE

      If god did exist(and he doesn't), I think I'd have some things to say to him when I "bend my knee and bow my head." I'd start by calling him out for being the uncaring piece of sh!t that he is. Of course, since he's a myth, I'll never get the satisfaction. However, I WILL get the satisfaction of knowing how disappointed all of you morons will be at the moment they die and NOTHING follows.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  3. Ben Dover

    Wow we almost had to pay for his health care now that he is a vegetable (hopefully).
    good thing he scammed all those stupid people out of their retirement money, he can now pay for it himself

    June 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  4. joann

    It,is really up to God when the world ends.No,one else except God,and God alone. JoAnn

    June 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      @joann. The world will end when our sun runs out of fuel. Before that, the sun's gradual increase in temperature will cause Earth to become inhabitable.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  5. bluemax77

    Good things come to those who wait...!

    June 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  6. Howard

    Apparently he just got the bill for all those billboards that he thought he wouldn't have to pay for. (would you take a check?)

    June 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  7. Pope Zuda

    All good Subgenii know the "Rupture" is July 5th Praise Bob. You're all gonna die HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!, well maybe not... Next year then! HAHAHAHAHAHA

    June 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  8. Wes

    Sandra,

    and... the problem frequently occurs in women of all ages...

    June 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  9. Jessica castaneda

    TI feel bad that the guy had a stroke but come on people. Its obivious that the guy is a false prophet. It says in the word that no one the day nor the hour. Do not be decieved world. Take heed the word of god. Do not listen to this man or his followers. They are of satan. Read the word of god. He who has an ear let him hear what the lord is saying to the churches. May the lord richly bless those that pay attention to the word of god.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      The word of god is gibberish. That's how we know Camping is a fake. The bible is gibberish, so all its prophecies are gibberish. Man, am I tired of biblical geniuses explaining that no man knoweth the hour of his coming as if that sews it all up. You're as deluded as Camping is. Th only differences are a few minor details. You interpret the gibberish differently.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  10. Exodus84

    And God said, "SHUT UP!"

    June 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • God

      And did anyone listen? Nope. I guess I don't exist. *sigh*
      [poof]

      June 14, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  11. G.Bob

    I think Jesus may just have come for him– how wrong is that.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  12. TIMothy Howard

    HE WAS ONLY OFF BY ABOUT 2 WEEKS AND SEVERAL HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE....SO....CLOSE, RIGHT?

    June 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  13. Barak Obama

    @josh – have you read the actual peer reviewed studies? Reading a book written by an atheist doesn't count. Quit reading bias books written by other people and just look at the data yourself. Or are peer reviewed article to hard for you to read?

    June 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  14. Stroke me stroke me... STROKE!!!

    Mr. Camping: Since you're sooooooooo wealthy, and I'm such a Heathen, I will clearly not be joining you on your Heavenly Journey, so I wanted to take this oppotunity to offer my services. I am willing to take a few million of your 'dpllars', which will clearly be worthless by October. I don't believe in Jesus, so clearly, I'll stay right here and perish, but a few million could really make a big difference for the fun times ahead! Plus, don't you think you owe some $ to us little people? After all, you're personally responsible for quite a few homeless, broke people who gave all their money to your lies... I mean prophecy. Thanks for reading, hope you don't speak funny after the stroke! Have a great night!

    June 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  15. juan del pueblo

    AAAAAH, HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,......... gasp for air.... gasp for air.... wait for it... wait for it.... HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!,HA!, HA!...

    June 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  16. Name*Donna

    God exist...look what hes done with this situation. youre talking about him...

    June 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Stroke me stroke me... STROKE!!!

      SHUT. THE. HELL. UP. How hard is it to see that christianity is a freaking joke? God, you people are just stupid.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • sftommy

      not only does God exist

      but He does have a great sense of humor !

      June 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • FSM4LIFE

      He clearly has a great sense of humor. Look at how entertaining we find his mindless followers. God is a constant source of laughter.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • God

      Thanks, I'm off on Saturdays if anyone is interested.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  17. P-defile

    Maybe he meant "rupture" instead of rapture......

    June 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  18. bill

    The Bible indicates the world will end when all believe. Therefore, the destruction predicted before the end will happen first.
    Nations at war,natural disasters in grand scale etc. Then those that are left(surviving genocides and "nature") will get a clue and realize that only God has the ability to create the complexities of the human eye, circulatory system, the fact we have (had) the needed water and atmosphere was not a random perfection that just occurred.....will change their minds and ask for forgiveness that was already granted them through Jesus, if they chose to accept it. THEN the world will end.
    Meanwhile, liars will not report full meltdowns, green plants will continue to be considered an enemy worthy of military and monetary eradication efforts world wide and CNN will decide there is more money in tabloid journalism than real unbiased news reporting.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Stroke me stroke me... STROKE!!!

      This is funny. None of you guys believe at all in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny... Yet you all put so much faith in Jesus. lol... Perhaps you should look up the origins of Christianity. It's as fictional as any of the other myths told to all children these days. Christianity is based on Astrology. So if you don't believe in Astrology, you shouldn't believe in Jesus. Just sayin'. Have a great night!

      June 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • John

      @Bill You didn't finish high school, did you? The bible is a book of fiction and your god does not exist. Your biblical god thing is also an impossibility by definition. A real omnipotent god (with all the other omni attributes as well), would need nothing whatsoever, including us and the entire universe. IOW, what would motivate him to create us and the universe? Don't even try to tell me that it's because he loves us. A true god would have no need of emotion. Love is an emotion. A product of evolution and natural selection. You need to update yourself and move into the 21st century. No one is buying that clap anymore.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  19. Sandra

    I guess he was suffered from premature exultation.. it's a common problem in men his age.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  20. bananaspy

    Funny all you Christians laughing at this guy. If you think actually believing in god is any less silly than what this man believes, you are mistaken.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • kanon

      Obvious troll is...._______.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Daniel

      Agree, there has to be at least 30 religions based off Christianity and each usually has 2+ more religions based off it. And oh yeah. if you don't follow "my type of Christianity", you 2 will be enemies. Just looking at basics of relion shows how it is complete hogwash. But as George Carlin said, "Logic, something religion is very uncomfortable with".

      June 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Dave Stephens

      Let me fix that for you: "Funny all you athiests laughing at this guy. If you think actually NOT believing in god is any less silly than what this man believes, you are mistaken."

      All better!

      June 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • sftommy

      '...your beliefs are mistaken..." that an original and compelling criticism...

      June 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
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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.