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. DosRuedas


    June 14, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  2. Poop doggy Dog

    Thnak God i am an Atheist.....(!)

    June 14, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  3. What does the Bible teach its followers?

    Genesis 19:30
    Genesis 21:1-2
    Genesis 35:22
    Genesis 38:18
    Judges 16:1

    June 14, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  4. Ludwig Galvis

    This idiot will probably be the only one to die on October 21. He'll have another stroke and die on that day, and he will still think he's getting raptured. Whaaat an iiiidiot.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  5. Hasher Iva

    Apparently the rapture came and went. Nobody qualified.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  6. Maryann

    If heaven is so great, why did he seek medical care? Isn't that against god's wishes?

    June 14, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  7. FromOK

    With a stroke @ his age, he probably start wearing out rapidly. So maybe, just maybe, the prediction of October 21st is the end of his world. Poor soul!

    June 14, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  8. Bob

    Why are the athiests so mad at the Christians?

    June 14, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Maryann

      Because of idiots like this guy and the Gainesville pastor. Sorry for the rest of you, but this is what gets all the attention.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Bob

      They represent a small group.
      The poor are fed by Christians.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • bubbahu?

      because they just don't get it !

      June 14, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • CheckUrFacts

      Atheists aren't mad at Christians, well not all Christians and not all Atheists, they are just tired and frustrated about all the pseudo-Christians (my term for them) who attack facts with assumption and ignorance. It's the same reason people get frustrated with a lazy people. They won't put the effort into finding out the truth!

      Instead some will manipulate and invent facts to disprove science for example creating the so called "Intelligent Design Theory." Which is neither intelligent nor a theory.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Maryann

      Bob, if the Christians are feeding the poor, why are there so many hungry, and new fancy churches being built all the time?

      Don't buy the hype.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Scott

      I’m not especially mad at Christians. I’m just very upset at the kinds of laws they try to pass and how they want to peddle there creationism fairy tale in science classes. Religion does not belong in school, just like facts don’t belong in church.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  9. bubbahu?

    l if the world is coming to an end soon and if there is any order preference , i vote for the IRS to go first !

    June 14, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  10. WangChungTonight

    $5 says he takes to the airwaves and calls this another sign of the apocalypse.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      Oh no..!! he is doom...!!!!

      June 14, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  11. BillR

    I just want to wish a speedy recovery for Mr Camping, and my prayers are with him and his family.


    June 14, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  12. realist


    June 14, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  13. Tim

    The second last paragraph should read, Camping founded Famil Radio, a "non-prophet" Christian radio network ...

    June 14, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Sue

      Witty! 🙂

      June 14, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  14. marty

    will this crazy person finally stop bothering us sane people ?

    June 14, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  15. Scottc543

    PT Barnum once said, "There's a Family Radio follower born every minute." Or something to that effect.....

    June 14, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • james richardson

      The Lord says that if Camping's followers don't send in $50 million within 30 days, He will call him home.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  16. Dahveed


    June 14, 2011 at 8:42 am |
  17. Dj

    I'm wondering if this man and his ministry have offered to return all the money that was given to him prior to his so called "end of the world"...

    June 14, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Geoz

      You don't have to wonder. Some have filed suit against him to get it back, others are giving more.

      June 14, 2011 at 8:42 am |
  18. keith

    bet he is laying in bed thinking 'dammit wish I had predicted this!!'

    June 14, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • The Guy


      June 14, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  19. free2do

    He's 89. That's why he had the stroke. Not because of vengeance from God.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • keith

      just cuase you are 89 doesn't mean you will have a stroke.....there are people who are 10-15 yrs older than this guy still alive and they haven't had a stroke. Don't generalize just cause of his age he had a stroke.....a 15 yr old can have a stroke....geeez

      June 14, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • CheckUrFacts

      Yup! That's true. A friend of mine in High School had a stroke at 17. The older you are the more difficult the recover and the more likely it's a sign of things to come (Wait did I just prophesize?). OK, look. As much as disagree with this guy and I strongly suspect we're talking about a con artist here. I hope it recovers completely.

      Heck, maybe his IQ will improve?!

      June 14, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • CheckUrFacts

      Based on my spelling, I'm going to get checked for a stroke. BRB

      June 14, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  20. Sofian Auctor

    Face it; most people are sheep... They follow religion passively ignorant of its true history and nature, they follow political parties blindly unaware of who is really paying them off, and they will just be led to the slaughter giving away their hard-earned money due to fear for their soul and fear for their own self-interests... We all suffer, as they reap what they sow...

    June 14, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • realist

      Sheep.. because the average intelligence is sadly very low

      June 14, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Maryann

      Sofian Auctor: You are exactly right. And it answers the question someone posted above about why atheists are mad at Christians!

      June 14, 2011 at 9:10 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.