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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. anon

    Wang is a funny way of referring to a penis. As in, "Hey, look!! My wang is sticking out of my pants!! Wow, how funny!!" Now, all of you stick one of your thumbs up your but and dance in circles...squattin' and bobbin your heads all smooth.

    June 14, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  2. Name*rob

    Everyon just chill praying for thing etc... jesus shmeezus alll ya gotta say is the like a good neighbor slogan and bammm. ...Better than religion

    June 14, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  3. Stephanie

    "No man knows the day or the hour" Matthew 24:36

    June 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Adam Burnett

      'nuff said

      June 14, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • US Patriot

      I guess he "misinterpreted" that verse too, eh?... Guess I shouldn't be too hard on the guy... most of the so-called intellectual guys can't handle simply written statements.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  4. SimpleReally

    Harold Camping had a stroke guys. One of the worst things that can happen to anyone.

    Surely our compassion for a man who is unwell even if you totally disagree with him is more important than vilifying him.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  5. God

    Good

    June 13, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Atheism is Great!

      I agree, he's swindled people out of their life savings, and helps to spread stupidity.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  6. Robert Johnson

    Given the nonsense he's been spouting for years, it's clear this is not Camping's first stroke.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Cross Road Blues

      Robert Johnson? Hey, at which crossroads did you make your midnight deal with the Devil? Or is that just a cool story someone came up with because Ike Zinnerman taught you to practice guitar sitting on gravestones in the middle of the night?

      June 14, 2011 at 3:05 am |
  7. Zachary

    Ironic punishment from a higher power?

    June 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  8. ryan

    Would you hire them if they chewed a piece of poop like a cigar....because Jesus told them to. Think about it. I'd hire them. You and I should open our own poop eating shop.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  9. gary

    If you believe in God this is good reason to not speak for him.

    If you don't believe in God this is just hilarious.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Mark Thompson

      I'm an athiest and I don't relish in another persons suffering. If you don't believe in God – you probably have the intellect of compassion for others even though they are suffering from such a terrible self delusion.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  10. Name*karin

    I live one day at a time thats all you can do. Live life to the fullest

    June 13, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  11. The Dude

    I have a small business and I would never hire Christians to work for me...They are all stupid and intellectually Lazy!

    June 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Adam Burnett

      ...and that's why you'll always have just a "small" business...blanket absolutes that show you obviously know nothing about what you're talking about. Bravo...you're a moron.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • US Patriot

      I personally give 200% to everything I do. I go the extra mile, I sweat hard, work hard, play hard. I do my best in everything I do and I take pride in my work. I play sports extremely aggressively and I don't stop til the whistle blows....

      Oh yeah, by the way- I'm a Christian and proud of it! Just so you know, Christians are commanded to do their best for His glory at EVERYTHING we do... unfortunately, a lot of SO CALLED Christians give the rest of us a bad name/reputation.

      As for this fool claiming he knows when the world will end- allow a real Christian to be clear- NO ONE knows the date and time of His return. Period, end of story. This guy is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Sadly, he misrepresents Christians and God's Word.... ONLY God the Father knows when the rapture will occur. Not even God the Son knows... it is clearly written. I guess this guy skipped the scripture that speaks of that, eh?

      June 14, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • JERRY

      dude . . . how would you know if they were Christian or not as you can't discriminate when you hire! Your ignorance will get you in trouble.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Dan

      It's a good thig you don't judge or stereotype, because that is the height of intellectual laziness!

      June 14, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • I_get_it

      US Patriot:

      1. I personally give 200% to everything I do.

      That is not possible. 100% means ALL. You cannot give more than ALL. You cannot eat more than 100% of one pie.

      2. "NO ONE knows the date and time of His return."

      Convenient cop out and CYA from whoever wrote "Matthew" and "Mark".

      June 14, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  12. ryan

    That guy predicted on the 13th of June 2011 that I would poop in my hand and smear it all over my face. Then smell my upper lip. Guess what I just did? It smells nasty. And most importantly...he can predict the future. He can.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • smelly

      You were supposed to smell your lower lip.

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

    He publicly said that the day was May 21. NOW he says that he never said that. So he is a nut case AND a liar. What's new? And anyone who follows him deserves what they get. You have to be a special kind of stupid to believe someone like this guy. I hope he's alive on October 21 to see it come and go. (then he'll name a NEW date of course)

    June 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  14. The Dude

    Jesus can BLOW ME.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Some other dude

      Wow, you sure are desperate for s3x, aren't you?

      June 14, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  15. Name*karin

    Cant always believe what you hear I live one day at a time

    June 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  16. Which witch?

    The only thing worse than a nut is an old,shriveled nut.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  17. Aurocard

    Oh, the humaity, or lack thereof when religion and intelegence are both the basis of an argument....online.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  18. Reality

    The real reason for his stroke: He read CNN's Belief blog and saw the following:

    THERE WAS AND NEVER WILL BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY!!!!

    😉 🙂 😉

    June 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  19. JW

    Colin, it is kind of pointless to point that out to them. Their eyes are blind, their ears deaf, their hearts cold and unloving of their fellow man. They think that they see, but they don't. They think that they hear, but they can't. They think that they love, but they instead spew hatred and evil all of their days. And then their end comes, and maybe then they look back and see the quality of life they really lived.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Trond

      If all you can do is paint everyone with the same brush based on a few posts made on the web, you have a serious problem.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • JW

      Right, we all have a serious problem. If we can't be civil on here, a little meaningless comment page on a "news" website, how can we hope to be civil in day-to-day affairs? And if you don't fall under the group we are talking about, then the comment wasn't directed to you, so don't lump yourself into it. No names were mentioned, and even if they did, it would be meaningless since for most people these aren't their real names and we wouldn't know them from Christ if we passed them on the streets tomorrow.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • JW

      And to be honest, the "few posts" made on here are exactly the type of behavior I grew up watching from those claiming to be religious, those claiming to follow Christ, and still observe even to this day. I see it regularly all around me. These comments on the website are just a symptom, along with all the other symptoms, that show a heart that really isn't like their Christ's heart, or at least what they claim his heart was like.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • NyteShayde

      Little melodramatic don't you think?

      June 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • oh no..

      "JW"? Please dont tell me it stands for what I think it stands for?

      C'mon brother?!

      June 14, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  20. po'boy

    Get ready. It is time.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:32 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.