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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. bobby pierce

    Ill bet u camping camping crouch hal lindsey copeland hinn any religiose millionaier 1million dollars my soul that the rapture will not happen anytime soon especially in may ever it will only happen on the sabbath saturday midnight after the great tribulation at the 7th trumpet after the anticrhist is revealed and only during the passover april 10th ~18th or sept 10th ~oct 10th only and it wont even get near to happening until sept 2012 will any one take the challenge id love to prove all these peoples false prophets noticed I only gave time day hour just like jesus said not adding to word or calling god a lier or blaspheming like all afore mentioned do every day knowinly lieng and stealing well whos up to it?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  2. The Giant Ball-Sack of Doom

    Lo! I am ruptured!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  3. morons

    unreal people like this garner media attention, get over it the world will end when it does no one knows

    June 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  4. Garry

    I really wish some of those people who gave away their belongings and riches lived near me!

    I'm up to my @ss in debt and here this guy says, "The world is ending and I have proof" and he gets $80+ Mil for it.

    Everyone send ME money and I will see to it that the world DOES NOT end on October 21, 2011! You have my guarantee on that. I have to get at least $40 million or I won't be able to stop it so hurry and send your money NOW!!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Duce

      Maybe "playing the game" and getting free money is the way to do it hahaha!

      June 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  5. 21k

    just think, we're all paying his medicare tab. pull the plug, i say. the money could be put to use in a kid's hospital.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  6. Lineman

    Bernie Madoff got 150 years for talking people out of their money while this clown goes scot free. Just goes to show that if you are going to steal peoples money then do it legally.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  7. Johnny Cage

    Lets just "assume" that there was goign to be an end of the world by some "god" figure, don't you think it would want to do it by surprise and not have some bozo spreading the word before it happened? If there were a god figure, this would be blasphemy. Since he has as much proof as, say, moses talking to god about the 10 commandments alone on a mountain top, which is no proof... why do people fall for this crap? Selling their homes and life savings? They deserve the poverty they have to live in now, and this guy is partially responsible!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  8. degenerate108

    karma? i think so.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • SurRy

      Heard his speech was affected. Like Cheney's end-stage heart failure gives him the feeling of drowning. That karma sure is a b!tch!

      June 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  9. K

    this is what happens when you try to play God.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • GOD

      OMG! Do you really think so?

      June 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  10. Andrew

    Call it what it is... a cult. The headline should not be "Leader of May 21 doomsday movement..." it should be "Leader of May 21 doomsday cult..."

    June 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Autumn

      I completely agree with you.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  11. AGeek

    Karma's a byotch.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  12. gus

    yeah Islam, such a peacefull religion... added to all the other myths

    June 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  13. 21k

    oh for X's sake! just die already!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  14. KeithTexas

    We need guys like Camping to keep things interesting. I would hate to be stuck with just the logical Atheist and Agnostics.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Duce

      So illogical extremists are better? Riiiight... We'll send the Westboro Baptist Church to one of your loved one's funerals and see how you think after that.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • 21k

      duce, you're onto something. how bout a giant cage match: westboro vs family radio, all the members. on alcatraz. various pipes and other implements get left around. remote video cams to live tv. winners get to swim home.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Duce

      Hahahaha! Love it!

      June 13, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  15. Jebus Friggin Carrriste!

    Jebus is your solution! Praise Jebus and pass the ammunition!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  16. Jebus Friggin Carrriste!

    bleeech. ooh, I just made a new religion!

    Q: What's the difference between a "Religion" and a "Cult?"

    A: A couple of million lemmings... er um... "followers."

    June 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  17. redman

    Turns out the May 21 doomsday was only for himself...who knew.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  18. DoodleSheep

    Shame it was only mild.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  19. Nads

    Islam is the solution.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Duce

      How about belief in people and good will is the answer. Religion will ALWAYS foster violence. The reasons are simple and too many to be stated but it all starts with the fact that everyone has their own "god".

      June 13, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • AGeek

      If that's the solution, I want the problem back.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Accountability

      Then pack your back and go back to where you came from.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  20. Jebus Friggin Carrriste!

    woah. word VOMIT below me.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:08 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.