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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. dude

    If he was thinking about his OWN end date... he may not be so far off after all! Just sayin...

    June 14, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  2. Poop doggy Dog

    i just cannot believe that the people are so gullible and are sucked into this 89 year old fruitcakes ideology. There should be a law protecting humans from these fruitcakes. He lived off millions from human ignorance. The rich will always be rich and the poor will always stay poor because you have farts like these in society who proclaim that they have had a board meeting with Jesus and his disciples and this is what he has cut out for you all. First you have to pay up. Like i firmly believe
    religion is for the weak.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  3. Gagi

    In Biblical times, false prophets were stoned to death. If that still happened today, he would have met his maker back in the 80's. He has a lot to answer for and a lot of repenting to do. Hopefully, he does that before the next stroke.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  4. Other Human

    Thank god! No, seriously, thank him.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  5. Charles D. Bruce

    Good... the sooner this idiot is below the ground the better. He's misled thousands of other idiots. Maybe when he's gone, the other idiots will realize that it was all bovine excrement...

    June 14, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  6. SHRIKE

    Nobody gets out of this life alive.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  7. Ric

    Karma is a Bummer Ain't it?

    June 14, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  8. calendorian

    It's the end of the world as he knows it.

    But I feel fine.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  9. PoudBaptistGirl

    I don't pretend to know if this was God's punishment for misleading so many people. It sure seems like it could be. Either way, I pray for this man's health and for his family. I also pray he has his eyes opened to the truth. God Bless!

    June 14, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Whatever

      His man made god didn't call him before, and will not call him now.

      All that will call him and the rest of his non-thinking type of followers is a hole in the ground.

      June 14, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Scott

      If this is the best retribution god can come up with (considering the man’s offences) I am not impressed.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Headless Chocolate Rabbit Hanging on a Cross with splinters in his...

      Got to love mystics. Yes this must be gods punishment. lol The dude is old as dust....he is on borrowed time. lol jesus people are amazing when it comes to mythical rational.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  10. askmehow

    Why would so many people listen to an old delusional man. Why is it humans always feel the need to follow some leader. This guy should be taking care of his health, he got all worked up over nothing.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  11. Jorge

    What terrifies me is not the current proliferation of doomsday prophesies and media, but the amount of inane, earnest idiots who buy into nonsense like this, who are by rights part of the electoral process so instrumental in directing our future. That, to me, forbodes the real possibility of apocalypse, God help us all.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Headless Chocolate Rabbit Hanging on a Cross with splinters in his...

      You can find more of these mindless people on sundays going to their churches like zombies....kids in tow.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  12. Rev. Rick

    While I pray for his quick recovery from a stroke, Camping is seriously deluded. His mind memes are destroying the lives of his deluded followers and creating misery for their families.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  13. Ronnie

    Wonder if he drops dead Oct 21. It would be his own private Armaggedon! HAHAHAHH!
    Seriously anybody stupid enough to give up everything they owned for this idiot gets what they deserve..poverty!

    June 14, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • mpouxesas

      ANYONE who beLIEves this guy is already in POVERTY....

      June 14, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  14. Pete

    Ha. Claims to know when the world will end. Doesn't even see his own end coming.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  15. Graywolf

    Well, this is God's way of punishing him for stealing people's money by being a false prophet.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Nichole

      God doesn't punish, this is Karma

      June 14, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Scott

      Surly god could come up with something better than a minor stroke?

      June 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  16. Bfstman

    Doomsday comes for all of us.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • solomon

      Well...Maybe this guy was predicting \his OWN Doomsday? Hey, who a) gives a crap, b) irony!! c) so he was off by a few weeks lol

      June 14, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  17. Lejaune

    God's punishment for the fraud and fake prophecy he has committed. Maybe he won't live to see October 21.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Norm

      This was just a test run.
      The real stroke will come on October 21rst.

      June 14, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  18. Jason

    If this guy dies on October 21 it might freak me out just a little...

    June 14, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  19. Neal Kelley

    Vengeance is mine says the lord... Thats what he gets for playing on peoples faith...

    June 14, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  20. Iz Teremka Kennel

    I am sorry for any person that gets a stroke. Hope he get well soon. However with that said,his doomsday is fast approaching

    June 14, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • crabman

      hope you reserved your seat on the bus

      June 14, 2011 at 8:07 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.