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. Jim C

    He duped many, but not as many as Obama duped.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • babybop

      That was a GOOD one! Very witty!

      June 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • john

      should have been raptured...why came back to earth?

      June 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  2. babybop

    It won't be heaven without Barney!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  3. Castro

    He might have been right about May 21st... except that he and his followers didn't get "raptured".

    June 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  4. Justin

    He suffered stroke... That's probably his punishment from God for telling fake prophets, that world is ending on October 21.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  5. Ian in MD

    Here's to hoping he doesn't last until Oct 21, 2011, so that we don't have to hear his non-sense

    June 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  6. Phil

    Seems fitting...considering how he's duped thousands of people.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  7. God

    God's will?

    June 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • God

      Nope. No such thing.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  8. babybop

    Barney is going to heaven! Go big purple dinosaur!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Scott

      And the sooner the better

      June 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  9. midnitejax

    Maybe he misunderstood the prediction, It was a personal deadline from the top guy in the front office.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • midnitejax

      Talk about establishing an alibi for making stupid predictions???

      June 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  10. Queen Lattice

    Yeah. God's telling him to STFU about this "end of the world" doomsday crappachini.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  11. keith pillsbury

    I bet you he didnt see that coming lol

    June 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  12. Kris

    This guy is every bit as radical as bin Laden. Where's Seal Team 6?

    June 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  13. terry Moore

    Oh well.. there is a God after all..

    June 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • God

      Nope. I'm just a figment of your imagination. *poof*

      June 14, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  14. Chuck F

    Perhaps he was predicting his own demise...and not the world's

    June 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  15. Grim Reaper

    Did he say October 21...no no....June 21st for him.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  16. Joel Franco

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPCNf8zSdRI video

    June 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  17. Jimmy Swaggart

    Basically this was the Lords subtle way of telling this guy to shut the hell up!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Nacho1

      Well.........he could be right....it could be doomsday for him?

      June 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  18. Marty in MA

    He should be prosecuted for the hoax that he perpetrated on those gullable fools.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  19. Rip Van Winkle

    Wake me when he's over!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  20. emma maria

    Weird he did not predict this.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:37 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.