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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. Wycliffe isagi

    Only God The Father knows the day and time.Jesus will come like a thief and we need to prepare through prayer and repentance

    June 14, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  2. stanton

    ONLY THE FATHER KNOWS ,AND THAT IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM THE SON,IT"S IN MATTHEW 24:36-

    June 14, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • w7rkd

      And only the Catholic Father knows how many boys he molested!

      June 14, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  3. Jonathan

    DOOMS day believers are the followers of Talibaan/Alqaeda as they also idiotically want to destroy this world.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  4. don't be a fool

    Catholic’s are the only true Christians – the rest are malcontents who go against Jesus’s wishes that the church founded by Peter will be his only real church on earth. Only Jesus can promote you to an apostle – you can’t make yourself one you born again loons. Stop trying to predict what God said can't be predicted. Clearly the end of each of us on earth is death in this world – nobody knows when you go from beaing dead in this life to getting taken into heaven.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  5. w7rkd

    Yup, now he really thinks the end is coming! We're doomed!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  6. Summer819

    Uh, no. You didn't always say October 21st was "the day". Otherwise, all of the billboards you plastered across the country wouldn't have said May 21st.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • w7rkd

      It would of been more fitting if they all said May 32nd! lol

      June 14, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  7. Laura

    I hope this guy lives at least until Oct. 22, 2011.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Random Anonymous Blackmail

      As do I, just to rub his nose in failure.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • stefaniefletcher

      Oh Laura! I agree . . . or maybe if we could watch him being "raptured" up that would be good too.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  8. Miguel Cervantes

    With all the money he collected , he doesn't need Obamacare, Those TRUE christian believers should give their money to homeless american, the network radio don't need it, because the world WILL END.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  9. DandySryker

    Sounds like god is punishing the guy. Perhaps someone should tell him to repent.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Sean

      You sound a delusional as Camping.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • joepa

      I think Dandy has a point. Carma is coming back to haunt this guy for ripping off those people who were foolish enough to believe in him and send him money.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  10. Prince Arora

    As I have predicted, the life of Harold Camping, the leader of the apocalyptic movement, will end before his next predicted DOOMSDAY DATE (October 21, 2011).
    Prince Arora

    June 14, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • LRoy

      Well, allegedly he IS 89. We should all live to be at least that old regardless. I predict he will die before the "rapture" which I don't believe in anyway. If he wants to see Jesus, he's going to get it. As a devout Catholic, I see Jesus all the time...at least once a week.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Martin

      i see Jesus once a week too. He cuts my lawn.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  11. guest

    yes, there is a maker, God

    June 14, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Sean

      Prove it or go home.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • nope

      No there isn't.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Jonathan

      There is no god and never was any

      June 14, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • tdawg

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJoOhbf3_Ts&w=640&h=390]

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

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYzPZis9X_o&w=640&h=390]

      June 14, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • onepuffaway

      Agreed, there is no god, only weak people believe in that.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • onepuffaway

      GOOD RIDDANCE!!! Too bad it was only a mild stroke.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  12. toneloc

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpEyqRtJw_E&w=640&h=390]

    June 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • stacy

      WOW!

      thanks!

      June 14, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  13. LONG

    christians are another fake people!!! the pope has most power than the president or any 1!!!!!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Mark 13: 33

      Grammar........she ain't just married to Grandper

      June 14, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • arthurrrrr

      who says that the pope is a christian? or any catholics for that matter?!! get your facts straight

      June 14, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • David Brooks

      Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholic. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian

      June 14, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Tina

      Wow! Really? What religion are you that you think it's ok to bash another religion? I'll stick to my Catholic religion and not bash others. That's being a Christian to me.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Sean

      @Tina
      Catholics are second only to Baptists when it comes to bashing others.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • nope

      That's because baptists have been around longer. 😉

      June 14, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • don't be a fool

      Catholic’s are the only true Christians – the rest are malcontents who go against Jesus’s wishes that the church founded by Peter will be his only real church on earth. Only Jesus can promote you to an apostle – you can’t make yourself one you born again loons.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  14. Leopold

    Maybe he meant his own doomsday is coming...

    June 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • LONG

      good 1 lmaoOoO

      June 14, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  15. jojo

    He's lucky God chose a stroke, and not a bolt of lightning.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • LRoy

      As I understand it, severe stress can be cause a stroke. He must be really worked up his prediction didn't come true.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  16. Stephanie

    No man knows the day or hour when Christ comes- Matthew 24:36-...

    June 14, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Poop Doggy Dog

      Still beats the idea that you evolved from a rock 4 billion years ago. Or the idea that we got here by chance. Complex structures that smack of design, oh that just came from the clear blue sky by chance. The chance of a genie appearing by chance in a chromosome is 10 to the power of 119,000. By comparison the known universe is 10 inches long to the power of 28. But you'll be damned if it didn't happen...

      June 14, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • LRoy

      Not even Christ Himself! And even if he did, you think He would tell us? Probably, but maybe not. The end will come when the end will come. I say stock up now regardless...spend ALL your money (help the economy in the process) because you never know where you'll be tomorrow.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Sean

      @Poop

      I’ll take a small chance (over billions of years) than an invisible sky daddy any day.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Steve

      Wow. Clearly Poop Dog here is incredibly misinformed about evolution. Maybe they were only taught creationism (home schooled?) and they are merely ignorant, as opposed to just plain stupid.

      June 14, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  17. LONG

    THAT MAN THINGS HES GOD? LOL GET OFF THE CRACK PIPE YOU OLD FART. DIE DIE DIE!!!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  18. Gisabun

    Crack pot. Maybe someone upstairs is p?ssed off at him.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  19. The Jackdaw

    Good job CNN. This happened last Thursday. What other stories are you calling "breaking news" that happened a week ago?

    June 14, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  20. Joe Christianson

    This kook should meet his maker and apologize for his stupidity..

    June 14, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      There is no maker. If this guy dies, who will amuse me?

      June 14, 2011 at 9:17 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.