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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. Jimbo

    If this guy says he is a Christian, he should try reading the Bible. MATT 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. So why does he think he can tell us when God says Son, go get my children? The Bible isn't that hard to read and for the child of the King, it isn't that hard to understand. People should stop following this guy. He is leading them straight to a Devils Hell!!!!! He needs to get saved before it is to late and he closes his eyes for the last time here on earth and opens them in a literal burning Hell.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  2. anon

    Nutty brown diarreah milk shake on a hot summer day. Makes you want to lick your diarreah lips doesn't it? Peace be with you.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  3. anon

    I like Dave Grohl and his band the Poo Fighters

    June 14, 2011 at 1:35 am |
  4. anon

    Who's your favorite rapper? Poop Doggy Dogg or Poo-Pac? If its old school you like, then perhaps the Poo Live Crew or Poo Short.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  5. anon

    What's band do you like more Motley Poo or Pootie and the Blowfish?

    June 14, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  6. mmi16

    His world may very well be ending Oct 21....or sooner!

    June 14, 2011 at 1:25 am |
  7. Michael

    While I think Camping is nuts and his followers are even crazier, I feel bad that he is suffering and I hope he gets well soon.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  8. Name*tony h

    What kind of people really believe the hogwash this phony is selling, we all will die one day but no one will no when....believe that people

    June 14, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Baldrick

      Do you not KNOW the difference between *no* and *know*?

      June 14, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  9. Jeshurun

    Hi all and peace unto you. My name is Jeshurun. It has been given to me by God. The Lord has ordained me as one of two end of days witnesses (prophets). In Nov 2007 God called me. The Lord led me into the mountains of Washington state; before he was done with me I found myself walking down a body of water dragging the soles of my slippers along the stones; close to the end of this walk were two witnesses and their dogs; at the end of this walk I was instructed to say this, "it is done". Those three words appear twice in the book of Revelation. I did not know that then. The walk lasted from sunrise until sunset. May 24 2011 the abomination of desolation was set up. On July 11 2011 blessing will be received. The beast spoken of in the book of Revelation will arise out of Iran. All that we are seeing in the world is the beginning of sorrows. If you are waiting for this all to get better you can stop your wait. Better is over until Jesus returns. Folks, if you have Jesus Christ in your hearts you are going to fare just fine. We are going to have our trials to go through as well though; stand fast on that rock; continue in your faith and press into the word. If you do not have Jesus in your life I beg of you; seek him out. He is not far from any of us. He is quick to hear and quick to heal. If you refuse to believe in God and his Christ I am sorry, but you have been deceived. walk in Christ..I love you all, God loves you more..watch and pray always..our redemption is at the doors.

    Jeshurun

    June 14, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Wow123

      Crazy dude

      June 14, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • XD

      I honestly read the first part of that thinking it was a parodied Nigerian scam letter...

      June 14, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • Scott

      Repent. Time is almost at hand. And has been for the last 2000 years

      June 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  10. Chuck

    I feel sorry for those that joined this cult. The bible is very clear that no one knows when Jesus is returning. Family Radio should liquidate and return their donations.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  11. Fox Mulder

    "HA HA!"

    – Nelson Muntz

    June 14, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  12. Ben James, Santa Cruz, CA

    Just another conman with a stroke. Lord please finish the job, things are bad enough down here without idiots like Camping bilking folk out of their savings. Amen

    June 14, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  13. Bucklusio Schartz

    Those without sin cast the first stone.

    June 14, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Rock Lobster

      Let he with common sense roll his eyes.

      June 14, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Wow123

      Yes, those who haven't sinned, cast the first stone. And then those who were swindled out of their lives savings, had their lives, their children's lives, and their faith ruined, they can cast the next stones.

      June 14, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  14. Dave Pinto

    Oh no! He was almost raptured! Why did you stop it? It wasn't a stroke! You've ruined his rapture....

    June 14, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Roadzombie

      ROFL!..I haven't laughed like that in weeks..

      June 14, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  15. Sheldon

    Now it all makes sense. It was the end of HIS world he was predicting all along.

    June 14, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  16. russell r

    Funny how he's the only one suffering and about ready to meet his maker.... He's ruined many many lives and God will not be happy with this fool.

    June 14, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  17. Bucklusio Schartz

    Regardless of his false predictions, we are all human and all of us are Gods children. Instead of judging him and cursing at him, we should pray for him and his family. No breathing human being is without sin and sometimes we need to remember that.

    June 14, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • Fuqmeinthegoatass

      There is no god you pawn amongst kings. God was created to control the weakminded

      June 14, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • Miffed

      By the comments on this post, it is amazing that our country is still existing with so much stupidity. Yes, the Bible says that no one will know the day or the hour when Christ will return. Assuming that this group's faith is actually based upon the Bible, it is a tragic thing for them that they are apparently unable to read it for themselves. As for you blasphemous morons, you don't have to take anyone's word for it that there is a God. Once you have sucked your last breath of air you will see clearly who's right and who's wrong, I'm just glad that I believe in God and in what the Bible says. The words of the Lord are harsh, just, peacful, and loving all at the same time. If you don't read it, you will never understand. Period.

      June 14, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Scott

      @Miffed: How can his justice be peaceful. Justice is about retribution for wrongs committed. This is not peaceful. How can he be harsh and loving? Love is not harsh although anger and hatred desisted as love often is.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  18. Marquis Stewart

    I just wanna say weather what proof you have or evidence every religion book,scriptures,and testamony might know how the world will end but doesnt know cause if everybody knew what day it was going to happen they would do all the things that people are doing following this man like quiting jobs and all that because in the bible under "THE CALL TO READINESS"it says God or jesus doesnt want you to worry about when the world will end but the do want you to keep busy and continue to work hard JUST LIKE GOD DID TO CREATE the world so i dont think noone should buy into this and it shouldnt be advertised cause thats not what GOD or JESUS would want because when he rises unexpectedly key word unexpectedly his joy and his welcoming would be him nknowing that the creatures aka as us humans have been following his will and working hard!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Baldrick

      Marquis,

      Here are the correct spellings of all the words that you flubbed in your post:

      Whether
      Testimony
      Quitting
      Knowing

      Also, apostrophes are necessary in the following conjunctions:

      Doesn't
      Shouldn't
      That's

      The phrase "us humans"' is grammatically incorrect and should read: "we humans".

      Actually, you so completely screwed up the punctuation, spelling and grammar on this post that you should probably just scrap the whole thing and start over. I would recommend cracking a book and learning how to communicate in English if you'd like for people to take what you type a bit more seriously.

      June 14, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  19. Matthew Jandecka

    Vanity!

    June 14, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  20. Johnny V

    Too bad the stroke didn't kill this hack.

    June 14, 2011 at 12:08 am |
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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.