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. Rub bonst

    The only problem is that you have to say that the information you can make a weekend of it is the most important thing to do with a friend. If I had the same time, but it is the first week of May. The government is not the only one who has been in touch, pace of you who don't have a lot more about it? What do people to help out a bit of a question about this product to your account and click. My prolapse butthole is itching.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • um


      June 14, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • B.Slider

      YOu need to spend some quality time with ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER for a full and total cranial rehabilitation, or else just switch to decaf.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:38 am |
    • joey

      hello, mcfly, hello

      June 14, 2011 at 5:28 am |
  2. hans


    June 14, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • Smite Me


      Ah, did the "Holy Spirit" inspire that post for ya, Bub? You mini-brain believers can't even do a decent impersonation. Shoo!

      June 14, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • Scott

      I prayed for a big dick when I was 11 and god granted my prayer. Unfortunately the big dick was attached to a priest

      June 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  3. Ashley

    wow i actually wished this guy would die, and my wish came true! sweeeeeet

    June 14, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • Ashley

      Why would you wish something like that upon another person?

      June 14, 2011 at 2:44 am |
  4. turd burglar

    R2-D2 just joined the party. He still beeps in his droid language but I can understand him. Awesome! I have a feeling he knows important things. He already shot my bow and arrow. And would you believe he's quite the arrowsmith? Jesus, er..Turd Ferguson, has cool friends. R2 has some hash from a different planet. Its confusing, but real good.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  5. Mack

    So all the selfish people who gave because they wanted salvation, and now want their worldly goods back because they didn't goto heaven. Oh, how people do not understand Christianity – think God doesn't know your intentions? Good luck dawgs.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  6. Stiks

    @ TOM
    No it does not make me stronger than you, I have yet to find a noble man who walks this earth without ripping poor people, lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, greedy, monetary induced minds etc. while preaching in the name of God. These thugs rip the poor from Monday to Saturday and sit in Church on Sunday to wipe of the weeks satanic doings. You only have to peek into the financial status of these clowns and i bet you can buy an enitire town with their wealth. In this short life of ours we should be good to one another and practice obedience, be civil, honest without having to go to a sermon or get a clown to pray for our unfaithfull deeds. Yes you will be swayed from time to time and getting into wrongfull habits. Deal with it and be strong. You dont need religion to get back on track, you need to to be strong and do it yourself. If you need help seek a shrink. Cheers... and yes, Religion is for the weak.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  7. turd burglar

    I took LSD tonight. Jesus is nothing but Burt Reynold, aka Turd Ferguson, whacked out on mescaline...which I now wish I took instead. Anyways, he's really not all that mad. Just a few small things, really. And, not what you'd expect really. I'm taking my bow and arrow and me and Burt, aka Turd, aka Jesus, are going to find more truths! Stay classy CNN blog. You guys are the true stars in this whole thing. Whoosh!

    June 14, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  8. The Master

    So I have often wondered about all the people who have lived/died for the previous 1.5 million years of evolution did they get a free pass from the rapture? Let's just say the people who lived/died in the last 100 years?

    Human's are such a silly species to think we are better then any other species on the planet, or in the universe for that matter...Worrying about the end of the world and raptures predicted by a book written by a bunch of different men a few thousand years ago, what a joke.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • One

      I wonder if he predicted his stroke.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • The Doctor

      Obviously you are not The Master of the English language. 'Humans' is plural for 'human'. There is no need for an apostrophe, as the word is not possessive.

      "That human's hair is on fire" is a good example of the possessive form of the word. But it's not very practical, as we humans rarely address each other as 'human'. Although, after some thought, I may start doing it more often.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  9. turd burglar

    This is Turd Ferguson by the way. Nyhah.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:18 am |
  10. Mark

    Okay okay... sew, sow, sooo.... either way, if I say the world is going to end on Dec 21, 2012 all the believers please respond and I'll give you my pay pal account so you can make donations to my doomsday effort! And I am serious... I know the secrets of the Universe! Now go sell your house and send me the money, as I am the only one who can fend off the evil ones.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  11. turd burglar

    I "knew" that I stuck it in your daughter's butthole hard enough "so" that she would need a "new" butthole. Or she would need to "sew" back her old one.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Baldrick

      Perfect, turd burglar! Thank you for giving all of us a textbook example of using these words in the correct context.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  12. Maurice

    Why should this guy give any of the money back that those people willingly gave him? He didn't force them to give him the money. The people who gave him all their money should ALL be committed for being so stupid, that's all. Well have a free market economy. If a bunch of idiots want to buy some doomsday mumbo jumbo then why should the guy selling it to them be the punished whenever the crap he talks ends up being just that – mumbo jumbo. They paid for mumbo jumbo and that is what they got. The only way that he should be penalized in any way is if he doesn't pay taxes on it.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Erik

      He should give it back because gullibility of your victims is not a defense for fraud.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  13. Robita

    I am in no way religious, however, I hope Mr.Camping gets better soon. It would be nice if people in our country could be nice to one another, and not always take an angry mob mentality about everything. Also, Mr. Camping is on the old side, so how ever crazy he may be, we might respect him because he's our elder and at least not wish suffering on him. As for you religious people out there, you don't have to pray for those of us who don't believe what you do, some of us are ok people anyhow.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • Q

      Perhaps the most generous and gracious post I've seen here...

      June 14, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  14. rich c

    i love jesus

    June 14, 2011 at 2:08 am |
  15. HereWeGoAgain

    Here we go again. What a liar and his power is horrendous. Hope he gives back some of that $80 million to his followers. Hopefully his followers will take the money and RUN...


    June 14, 2011 at 2:03 am |
  16. Baldrick

    Wrong. We wear what we *sew*. We reap what we *sow*.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:59 am |
  17. Michael Turner

    Poor man, if he only knew. I hope he recovers as I do also hope that the people that think the religious are the weak ones. One is poor in health and the other poor in spirit.
    God Bless you both

    June 14, 2011 at 1:53 am |
  18. Mfstout

    We reap what we sew.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • Baldrick

      We wear what we *sew*. We reap what we *sow*.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Tom

      Sow. Though, I do wish I knew how to sew better...wouldn't have to buy many clothes. 🙂

      June 14, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • tautiešlops

      We rip what we sew only if we get a bit mental 😉

      June 14, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  19. grinquillero

    He was predicting his personal dooms day!

    June 14, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  20. stiks

    religion is for the weak.

    June 14, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Michael Turner

      I pray you lift your spirit in understanding and compassion.
      God bless you,

      June 14, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • Tom

      Does telling us we're weak make you feel stronger? Personally, I think it makes you sound like a d-bag. But, ya know, that's just my perspective.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Jeremy M

      Your probably correct, but you don't have to be a jerk about it. If believing in something makes someone feel better than let them be. I think we would all be better off if everyone would stop worrying about what other people believe.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • Stiks

      @ Jeremy M
      you absolutely spot on. If you think the world is going to end or the sky is going to fall down, keep it to yourself and your congregation or followers. dont go and publish it worldwide and create idiots out of yourselves.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Scott

      @Jeremy M: Yes, Yes exactly. Christians would almost be pleasant if they would stop worrying about what other people believe and stop trying to pass laws to have their beliefs enforced on all of us.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:49 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.