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. Ed

    Oh gee couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Who got even with who on mocking him? Be sure to change ytour diaper.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  2. Jimmy

    How many times have I heard that the world is gonna end? How many times have I heard that Christ is gonna return and hell itself follows him afterwards? Yes yes yes we will all die in due time, but the only way that im going live my happy life in the mean time, is by not dwelling on death itself.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  3. Satan

    I guess Camping wasn't counted as one of the raptured in May? He might just be one of us who will go through tribulation? If I see him standing in line for food or wandering about, I'll be sure to wave and let him know there is a place amongst my army of the dead.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  4. babybop

    Believe in BARNEY!!!

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

      I DO LOL

      June 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  5. Frank

    Why is Family Radio paying for Harold Camping's health care and that of his family? Didn't many people donate their life's savings to support his end-times date? How will those people get health care, like Camping and his family do? Looks like the "Family" in Family Radio is referring to Camping's family living off donors.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Colin

      But fortunately, praying for Camping is as utterly futile as masturbating for Camping.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Colin. But one is much more satisfying then the other.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  6. Craig

    Personally I suspect that his God did rapture all the deserving people on May 21. I think that speaks volumes about him and his followers.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  7. Pete

    The believers really were whisked away on May 21. That nothing appears to have changed is just an illusion to make the rest of us think nothing happened.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  8. KEvin22

    He will die on October 21st.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  9. Graeme Smith

    I am a Christian and I believe Christ died for us and he will return. But for goodness sakes what part of these passages do Howard Camping and other misguided people not understand: Matt 24:36 and Mark 13:22: NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THAT DAY OR HOUR NOT EVEN THE ANGELS OR THE SON (Jesus himself). And 1 Thessalonians 5:2: THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT. The Bible is not a puzzle book with clues about the last day that only a select few get to work out. Camping has totally missed the point and is being self centred, foolish and sinful. Graeme Smith

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

      You like many others stop at thes 5:2 can come up with ur own understanding instead of continuing to read and searching the entire scriptures. The following verses of thesalonians teach something very clear to His elect:
      1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
      1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
      1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
      1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
      1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
      The beloved (elect) are not in darkness and will know the day of the Lord's return.

      Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
      Amo 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

      Cry out for mercy that maybe u might be one of His.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • frontgate

      Graeme, good luck with that rapture thing you're waiting for.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • purplepuppy

      Noemi, you are reading a Greek translation of things. Greeks and Hebrews did not think alike, and there are Hebrew words and Aramaic words that had no translation. If you want to get a clearer picture you must understand that these people were Jews. They followed Torah to the letter. Yeshua was the living Torah so the way he taught was the way it was written not the Greek miss translation

      June 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  10. Chribos

    Do you think he saw this coming?

    June 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  11. rex edie

    all good comments here.... this is an example when the ignorant mortal...has to face the ridiculousness of their own arrogant ego........ his head like so many was so far up his backside..... he choked himself.....(stroke)

    how....could I be wrong....Im such a righteous and true believer.... ???? only I know whats right and wrong.. phhooohhh ! ! !!

    June 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  12. Troy

    I wouldn't normally say this, but ....THANK GOD

    June 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • GOD

      But I didn't do it. I wuz framed!

      June 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  13. LONG


    June 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • PoconoPhil

      He didn't TAKE the money so much as the dupes GAVE it to him. There are always going to be gullible marks out there, which is how Camping, Kevin Trudeau, and Sarah Palin stay in business.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • frontgate

      Phil, spot on.
      especially about Palin. Add Bauchman to that list.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  14. Bobbie

    Funny dude

    June 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  15. jesusisfake

    OH pleeeassee just die!!

    June 13, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  16. camping is one of biggest sinner, vannot be saved by jesus, not even christ

    camping is one of biggest sinner, vannot be saved by jesus, not even christ
    No man escape the Law,
    those who are deceived by false grace

    June 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Troy

      How are you able to spell "cannot" wrong twice in the same post?

      June 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • The Dude

      He is a retarded Christian...

      June 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • FSM4LIFE

      Wait, he vannot(sic) be saved by Jesus OR Christ? FML, are they two different people now? You fairy worshipers get more confusing by the minute.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  17. shamgar50

    Well, at least his “Doomsday” appears to be cycling up.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  18. Wanderer

    If I were a Christian I would listen to God because no prophet on earth is God and nobody knows who or what God is. Whoever who is not God, says anything about God, is lying.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • GOD

      No, I'm sitting. And I'm about to poop.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  19. Doug

    This is called Karma... This guy is disgusting ! Die loser !

    June 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Adam Cartwright

      Amen to that

      June 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  20. Mark Yelka

    Disbelievers care because believers are being scammed because of their gullibility. A world without religion will be a better place for all. It's up to the disbelievers to light the way to truth. Real reality, not magical imaginary god reality.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Kay

      Religion is not the problem. People who try to put specific dates on God are the problem.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Jeus Is Lord

      Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the LIfe. No one comes to the Father except through Him. Believe Him, obey Him and be saved. Peace.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • GOD

      Trying to find a date is a hairy problem. I can't find a good razor to shave my legs with. 😀

      June 13, 2011 at 11:57 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.