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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. Jesus Gomez

    As long as I still go to Del Taco and eat their 49 cents tacos? There is nothing we need to worry about.

    Jesus Gomez Sr. :))

    June 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  2. erich2112x

    Many people gave their life savings and inheritance to this guy, and didn't get it back when the world didn't end.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • ScottK

      Maybe all those people prayed for this guy to have a stroke and this is just proof of prayers power... or not.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  3. jackie robinson

    Not even the angels in heaven no the time nor the hour. No ones knows expect the Father in heaven. So how does this man know these thing? HE DOESN'T. Pick up a Bible find out for yourself...

    June 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • babybop

      Barney and the bible say it can't be predicted.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  4. HeIsGod

    People, get your eyes off mankind and put your eyes on Jesus Christ who is the Author and the Finisher of Faith. Test the spirit by the spirit to see if it is of God.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • babybop

      What about Barney?

      June 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Yes, Barney to.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Sam I am

      You are an idot. God hates you.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Sam I am

      "Take and eat this in memory of me."

      June 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • God

      You should not be putting your eyes on a dead man.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  5. Bilal

    I think the idea of him dying before the world ends is a nightmare to him.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  6. jayman419

    I had a feeling this guy's health was failing.

    It seemed like he just wanted to ride around the country spreading the word in his final days, and when he lived longer than he thought he would, he just extended his vacation through the summer.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  7. viranka

    it's not nice to fool mother nature with your narrow mined predictions:):)

    June 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  8. babybop

    I like Barney!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • babybop

      That was a good one!

      June 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  9. cmk

    I guess it was just the end for him! gotta love that karma!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  10. Splovengates

    People though that Jesus would return in October 22, 1844. When that day came and went, many believers left the faith.I wonder if the same thing happened this year.But wait!—something really did happen on October 22, 1844. Grab your Bibles and ask God what did happen? You will be amazed.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  11. HeIsGod

    And this is the reason can NEVER be put on flesh that is self corrupted.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • God

      I'm going to put you with the other idiots. There. How did that feel?

      June 14, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  12. babybop

    Uh uh what?

    June 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  13. idiot

    I'm glad we don't have to hear anymore from this nut-job. Go drool on yourself and eat navy beans.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • cmk

      it's yankee bean, idiot 🙂

      June 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  14. jimbo

    The world is actually going to end 2453 on Plarknack day, please give me millions of dollars

    June 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • BobZemko

      How do I make out the check?

      June 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  15. TvNYC

    Hello everybody,

    Nobody knows the date or hour. What we do know is we will sense tar something is totally wrong. The world is changing as we know it. It is way more destructive by each day. I personally don't believe in Harold Camping's predictions but I do know that on may 21st I was driving back from the airport JFK to be exact and it started pouring at exactly 6:00pm on may 21st 2011, while it was sunny. So when I got to my neighborhood the world was still intact so I decided to play some basketball, which was a bad idea cause I broke my ankle that day. I do believe that the world is full of evil but there is plenty of good also. I believe there is more good than evil in this world still. My belief is once the evil surpasses the good the world may end but that's up my Lord God to determine. Life is hard but people should not be trying to capitalize off end of world predictions. Anyone can do it and it's fairly a big sin according to the holy bible. Not even Jesus knows the day and hour when the world will end but I do believe it is near!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Colin

      You really consider an afternoon downpour and an ankle injury on a basketball court as harbingers of an impending armageddon? Odd that the creator of the universe should use such devices to communicate its coming to you personally.

      So tell me, do traffic lights turn red just to annoy you? A UFO ever kidnapped you? Seen Bigfoot?

      June 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  16. CrowdedPond

    Maybe his speech center is screwed, so he won't be able to talk- let's hope.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  17. TheOinGOD

    His next prediction will be "Membablah schmackle blah blah schmackle blah blah" and you better take it seriously this time people!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • saywhatwhat

      Instant classic.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  18. Bob

    Please live until October 22nd at least.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  19. Colin

    As an atheist and a firm opponent of everything this man did and said, I wish him the very best. I hope he has as good a recovery as his advanced age permits. I would never wish a stroke or any other adverse consequence upon another, simply because they have a different religion to me.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • jimbo

      Burn the heretic!

      June 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • soylentgreen40

      Well said. You're a credit to our race.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Colin, as a Christian and a follower if Jesus Christ, not men, I want to say that you have such a wonderful heart and you are very sweet. I hope you give your good heart to Christ one day.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  20. mary

    Maybe he was predicting his own last day on earth?

    June 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      See, you are right about that.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:54 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.