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. Poop doggy Dog

    Religions are not needed for modern humanity any more. Back then there was very little
    education. People needed to be threatened & rewarded to be good citizen,
    hence religions were invented, and today there is no need for that any more. We should do right things just because we are
    all human beings. The bible did not fall from the sky, man invented the bible to bring discipline amongst people. If the bible was invented today, i bet my last dollar that somewhere at the back would be the words "made in china"
    I just feel sorry for all those that get brainwashed on a daily basis.I guess the Nigerian 419 scam will always get someone to coff up their life savings.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:39 am |
  2. Keith Ottawa

    The guy is a scam artist plain and simple no different than Bernie Madof except he wraps himself under the protection of religion. Steal money from people on the market your a theif, steal money from people in a church your a prophet

    June 14, 2011 at 6:04 am |
    • Samantha

      Well said Keith.

      June 14, 2011 at 6:41 am |
    • benny

      You took the word right out of my mouth!!

      June 14, 2011 at 6:56 am |
  3. GoodJeans


    June 14, 2011 at 5:52 am |
  4. byebye

    A false prophet's family is cursed by God for generations. They might as well party till they drop, there's no heaven in their future.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:51 am |
  5. bob dobalina

    When this old F***er kicks the bucket....can you guess how long that 80 mill will last? I would say that the foundation will disappear pretty quick with it's staff getting rich quick.......hope he dies a painful death...and begs for "god" to take him quickly....and that it doesn't happen.....maybe then he will realize that he's wasted his life and that of others on this fable called religion ......

    June 14, 2011 at 5:21 am |
    • joey

      it wont happen. there are no gods

      June 14, 2011 at 5:30 am |
  6. joey

    a stroke of good luck for all of us

    June 14, 2011 at 5:19 am |
  7. Katie

    So what...

    June 14, 2011 at 5:16 am |
  8. myway

    Why do people use a religion that promises eternal life need a rapture event to get eternal life? I guess that's proof in itself they don't know what the hell they're talking about. Somehow these chosen people by divinity theories just never seem to work out. History and religious books are full of examples to put that one to rest for all eternity.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:06 am |
    • joey

      you got it

      June 14, 2011 at 5:21 am |
  9. Trish

    Hey Guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG .... A friend of mine is fighting for her life.... Thanks

    June 14, 2011 at 5:05 am |
    • bob dobalina

      F*** Faye...go beg somewhere else.

      June 14, 2011 at 5:16 am |
    • joey

      faye needs to go to afghanistan and fight for her life

      June 14, 2011 at 5:31 am |
  10. B.Slider

    oh, how awful–I guess that's why he was not in the debate last night with the rest of those highly entertaining folks who have little idea about the difference between rapture and rupture.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • joey

      he couldnt go because he was painting palins new house. she said she likes the way he paints, he has nice strokes.

      June 14, 2011 at 5:33 am |
  11. man


    June 14, 2011 at 4:25 am |
  12. johnson


    June 14, 2011 at 4:18 am |
  13. flarnkingsgargle

    white power

    June 14, 2011 at 4:09 am |
  14. Fly Guy in SJ


    That's from a spambot that beat CNN's filters (not common, in my experience). The nonsense text is intended to poison Bayesian filters. What the spambot writers don't seem to realize is that:

    1) Bayesian is only a minor component of many spam filtering systems;

    2) The major antispam services all have defenses against Bayesian poisoning, so they are wasting their time;

    2a) Some of them take the defense a step further and use the presence of Bayesian poisoning attempts as a strong
    indicator of spam.

    In other words, in the best case it doesn't help them and in the worst case they're actually shooting themselves in the foot.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • B.Slider

      spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam lovely spam, beautiful spam
      spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam

      June 14, 2011 at 4:42 am |
  15. tom

    Why you rippin on Hans? Poor dude never got his big penis he prayed for. Some of us are just "blessed" I suppose

    June 14, 2011 at 4:05 am |
  16. kabster

    Guess it might be his gods way of saying. Don't f with me.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • Amanda

      I sooo agree with you!

      June 14, 2011 at 4:10 am |
    • joey

      oh, thats brilliant. no one has ever had a stroke before.

      June 14, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  17. Ojitos

    80 million? Hell, he must have been doing something right. Just not quite sure what that is as of yet. Obviously didn't get paid for his accurate prediction skills!

    June 14, 2011 at 3:55 am |
  18. Wages

    Haha, sell sell sell lol

    June 14, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  19. Stephanie

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

    June 14, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Poop doggy Dog

      Ted Bundy knew the day and Hour.

      June 14, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Martin

      I think that was before anyone had clocks, Stephanie. These days we DO know what time it is if we have a clock or watch.

      June 14, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • swaf

      seriously, how hard is it for people to read and see what the bible really says rather than some guy telling you what it says or what will happen. Its pretty clear that no man knows.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:30 am |
    • outawork

      His bible was missing that page.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • joey

      camping and the christian/jewish manual are both wrong

      June 14, 2011 at 5:26 am |
  20. mj4

    I guess his rapture is nigh.

    June 14, 2011 at 3:25 am |
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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.