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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. jboisclair

    Its a wake-up call to get right with God because he is a faulse teacher.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  2. Plix

    Couldn't have happened to a nice guy. He shoulda listened when he was warned, "God'll getcha for that!"

    June 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  3. John

    The Universe always balances the books.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Scott

      With all the televangelests that haven't been incenerated by lightning, you can say that with a strait face?

      June 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  4. One Eared Puppy on Crack doing the Moonwalk Sideways

    I wonder if he has to wear Depends?

    June 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Plix

      That depends.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  5. Superchik

    If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Mike

      Yes, it is a definite sign of aging.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  6. Willy Spray Vyrus

    I could go for a good stroke right now.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  7. wendy5

    if we could all be so lucky 89 thats pretty good;

    June 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Name*Serge

      Yesterday King James was sat down! 🙂

      Today this wack job that steals people's money!

      I should not have such a fat grin on my face but love karma!

      June 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  8. ScottK

    As commercial's often tell me now, a stroke is no joke... but this one is kinda funny...

    June 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  9. gypsyboomer

    Maybe God is trying to tell him something

    June 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • One Eared Puppy on Crack doing the Moonwalk Sideways

      I don't think god has to speak very loud...look at his ears

      June 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  10. ness

    ok so it's a mini-doomsday.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  11. One Eared Puppy on Crack doing the Moonwalk Sideways

    Maybe he needs to lay off the blow?

    June 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  12. pandoruix

    Hes prolly been having the same stroke scince may 22nd LOL.
    Karma working at its best. Or is this gods punishment to a swindler! Either way you put it! Sorry he had a stroke but maybe he can get the help he truly needs now 🙂

    June 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  13. Ryan

    Something about Karma and b*!tch.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  14. Seth Hill of Topanga, California

    Actually, when a soul ascends to heaven before the body dies (rare but does happen), the symptoms can resemble a stroke.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • TungSten_001

      God has simply swatted the little piece of garbage

      June 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Name

      Actually, "heaven" is imaginary, like everything else in any religeon (by definition), so I won't opine that the stroke was any kind of divine payback, a "sign" from "above" or "below" or whatever... but it was funny though! LMFAO about it... couldn't have happened to a more useless jerk. 🙂

      June 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Mike

      Please provide proof and show your work.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      Let's hope you're right, because if so then I and other's who place their faith in Christ lose absolutely nothing. But if I'm right and there's something more after death waiting for us then the alternative may be far worse than anything you or anyone could imagine.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      My last comment was meant for Mr. Name.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Can't Stop Laughing In Laguna Beach

      Seth,
      You need to stop smoking that stuff in your back yard.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  15. Chartreux

    Imgaine that. Perhaps Mr Camping's personal Apocalypse is on the way...

    June 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  16. Shawn

    So, this guy commits fraud, reaps millions in profits off people, and doesn't go to jail? He's no less guilty than Madoff. However, I fail to care. Why? Because Madoff screwed intelligent people out of their money through a legitimate scam; the clowns who sold their homes and bought into this BS are retards who deserve no pity.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Emeljay

      "Legitimate Scam" Oxy?

      June 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • BarbieQ

      I totally agree with your viewpoint. However, I resent your use of the word "retard". It's equal to using the "N" word. I won't report your comment as abuse. I just think people need to be more sensitive. I appreciate Jane Lynch for bringing this to light!
      http://www.crinet.org/_blog/CRI_News/post/NEW!_Hard-hitting_public_service_announcement/

      June 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  17. MICHAEL WHITE

    Looks like he's experiencing his own rapture now!!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Roger Noe

      3 weeks late too!

      June 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  18. Marlye

    Too bad the stroke didn't kill him.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Don

      Time to bring out the cool-aid so the rest of the nut cases can join him.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  19. :(

    Only a stroke ahhhhhhhh 🙁

    June 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  20. MICHAEL WHITE

    Looks like he's experiencing his own rapture now.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
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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.