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. Justthefacts

    Looks like the False Prophet may not be here for his next prediction; Oct 21st.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  2. RD

    No man shalt ever know the day of doomsday. This is his punishment from god.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  3. Muneef

    God does not ask for your money but rather for you belief...believe no one that asks you for money...

    June 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  4. I didn't believe in hell

    Til I let evangelicals talk to me, then I realized being around them is like hell.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  5. Johnny

    How many virgins is his god promising?

    June 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm |

    Why do you ridicule this man further? Whatever happened or didn't happened has blew away in the wind. I feel sorry for those that are so critical. I was never, and am not a supporter of his; nevertheless, I will not glory in his demise.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  7. LONG


    June 13, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  8. rachbell

    Oops! He almost went!

    June 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  9. nunya


    June 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Mike

      Good? Ok then if that's good then hopefully you or a close family member will be blessed with a stroke soon.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • specter

      False prophet. I saw people on tv talking about giving up thier kids future school money to this man. Lieing and stealing in the name of god. Shame on you and your organization. Theyre worse than scientologists

      June 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  10. Jim Dandey

    So, he was only 19 days off...

    June 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  11. max

    With all the suckers sending this guy money he's going to have an amazing funeral.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  12. Possum

    Well, maybe, a stroke could count as his predicted Rupture? It seems he felt HIS end was near and just didn't want to go out alone.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm |

      Tacky comment. Think before you post!

      June 13, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  13. Morton

    Looks like God listened to him and delivers him his own doomsday.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm |

      Senseless statement. Do not disregard other's lives so easily.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  14. Muneef

    [37:139] Jonah was one of the messengers.

    [37:140] He escaped to the loaded ship.

    [37:141] He rebelled and thus, he joined the losers.

    [37:142] Consequently, the fish swallowed him, and he was the one to blame.

    [37:143] If it were not that he resorted to meditation (on God),

    [37:144] he would have stayed in its belly until the Day of Resurrection.

    [37:145] We had him thrown up into the desert, exhausted.

    [37:146] We had a tree of edible fruit grown for him. (Pumpkin)

    [37:147] Then we sent him to a hundred thousand, or more.

    [37:148] They did believe, and we let them enjoy this life.

    [68:47] Do they know the future? Do they have it recorded?

    [68:48] You shall steadfastly persevere in carrying out the commands of your Lord. Do not be like (Jonah) who called from inside the fish.

    [68:49] If it were not for his Lord's grace, he would have been ejected into the desert as a sinner.

    [68:50] But his Lord blessed him, and made him righteous.

    [68:51] Those who disbelieved show their ridicule in their eyes when they hear the message and say, "He is crazy!"

    [68:52] It is in fact a message to the world.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  15. Sara

    Karma- and that is something that can be counted on, unlike christianity.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  16. Revenge of the Return of the Attack of the 400 Foot Fluffy Bunny from Beyond the 433 Dimension

    Dumbsday is near! Repent! Prepare! Send cash NOW!

    June 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Mildred the Mouth

      Them must be some turds thar bun bun.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • God

      Your check is in the mail.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  17. Porknbeans

    Priests/preachers/pastors were required when the population was mostly illiterate. But when people can read they should not ever rely on another person to interpret the Bible or any sacred text.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  18. sean burns

    I've seen him on TV. How could they tell he had a stroke?

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

      LOL, Good One Sean Burns. I needed a laugh today.

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

    Gee, maybe he was predicting his rapture.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  20. s kel

    oh well ,his lies is his hell.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:07 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.