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. Jack

    hope he burn's in hll

    June 14, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  2. Emilio Largo

    I still laugh heartily at the brainless morons who gave up their jobs, homes, and other possessions because they thought this imbecile was somehow legit. Delicious justice.

    Maybe Camping will figure a nice little stroke is God's way of saying "STFU you ignorant turd".

    June 14, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  3. Margaret S

    The end of the world and the rapture are two different events. Anyone read their bibles?

    June 14, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  4. Kamran

    I reckon he got too upset about not dying on may 21.

    June 14, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  5. LeeCMH

    Where is his stroke? On his Left Behind?

    June 14, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  6. crabman

    oh ya what about the money he has collected just wondering

    June 14, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Joesixpack

      Haha hmm yeah... They'll probably party it up until they run low then it's time for another *prediction*.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  7. crabman

    well the end is near for for this moron

    June 14, 2011 at 7:44 am |
  8. goss

    Well it's the end....of HIS world.

    June 14, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  9. The Watcher

    A very convenient event, I agree. Perhaps those who have given are getting what they paid for, a great story with an amazing ending. This guy sounds alot like the car insurance GPS guy, "RECALCULATING."
    The self roighteous have been duped repeatedly by these charlatans yet they line up at the altar, waiting to be shaved, ooops, I meant saved.

    June 14, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  10. louis

    Maybe his brain dead followers will feel sorry for him now and send him more millions... i don't feel one bit sorry for all the people that sent him everything they had if they are that dumb they deserve it...

    June 14, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  11. Alex

    May the lord be with you... NOT.
    Stop making false predictions.

    June 14, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  12. ron brooks

    I think he is predicting his own after being greedy and trying to take his followers life and money. Karma is the strongest force on earth and she waits patiently until the time is right.

    June 14, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  13. Reality

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



    June 14, 2011 at 7:18 am |

    Well isn't that "convenient" !!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 7:17 am |
  15. Josh

    Camp also claims he has an author-signed copy of the Bible.

    June 14, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • Evah

      Yeah, but if I copied a new version of the bible I'd be the author. And if I signed it, then Camping would have a copy signed by the author. LOL!

      June 14, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Kamran

      haaaaaaa ha ha ha, that was a good one!!

      June 14, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  16. VashTS

    God: "Camping you idiot you know nothing of my work."
    Camping: "But I read your book?"
    God: "Yeah to be fair we filled in most of it from Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels changed some names etc etc... Seriously man, Get over yourself."
    God: " Yeah here have a stroke on me, its kind of a get-out-of-crazy card you can play for a while."

    June 14, 2011 at 7:07 am |
  17. Kebos

    God is very, very angry with Camping, as told to me last night in a dream. God said (in the style of Col Klinger of Hogan's Heroes) "I'll get you, Camping. I'll get you".

    June 14, 2011 at 6:57 am |
  18. 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 6:56 am |
    • francisco

      With out God there is no hope,no peace,know God know peace n hope. Jesus is not a relijion is a relationship. You will bow down to jesus dead or alive.

      June 14, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • Kamran

      To: "Poop doggy Dog"

      June 14, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  19. Jay

    Camping you idiot! Its RAPTURE not RUPTURE!

    June 14, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  20. Cruzader

    God punishment for saying that God etc, etc, etc.

    June 14, 2011 at 6:44 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.