December 17th, 2013
01:43 PM ET

Radio preacher who predicted doomsday dies

(CNN) - The broadcast preacher who predicted the world would end in 2011 and spread his doomsday message through billboards and RV caravans has died, according to a statement from his Family Radio network.

Harold Camping died Sunday afternoon after suffering a fall in his home on November 30, the statement said. He had suffered a stroke in June 2011, a few weeks after his doomsday date came and went.

He died at age 92, an operator at Family Radio said.

"He passed away peacefully in his home, with his family at his side," the statement said. Camping is survived by his wife of 71 years, Shirley.

For months in early 2011, Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to the earth on May 21 that year, and that a select 2% to 3% of the world’s population would be raptured, or taken to heaven.

Those left behind would face months of tribulation before perishing in the Earth's destruction, which Camping said would happen on October 21, 2011.

MORE ON CNN: Road trip to the end of the world

When his May 21 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.

The following year, Camping admitted he was wrong and said he was getting out of the forecasting business.

"We humbly acknowledge we were wrong," Camping and his staff members wrote in a letter to supporters posted on Family Radio's website in March 2012.

"We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date."

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 had gathered many followers. Some gave up their homes, entire life savings and jobs because they believed the world was ending.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: End times

soundoff (1,057 Responses)
  1. Jerome Horowitz

    Is this the guy on the radio with the rich, deep voice who spoke really slowly? I can't tell from the little audio they give him on the clip. There was a guy who used to quote the Bible and talk about it on the AM radio who had a very deep voice. He was kind of interesting, even though I'm not into the Bible.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • who me?

      I guarentee they make a move about this guy.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  2. Keith

    As much as he knew about the bible he was still wrong, just like all the rest of the Christians.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • JSmith


      December 18, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • mike

      Such a blanket, general, surface level comment for a much more complicated "opinion". You have enlightened me.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  3. nemo0037

    Boy, that photo of this creep sure puts it all in perspective, doesn't it? The Pope talks about the "Joy of the Gospel." The Bible promises "peace that passes all understanding." This poor shriveled up old prune looked like he had a corn cob wedged in that place where the sun never shines. And that was on a GOOD day for him!

    December 18, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Rett

      The Bible promises some things that are not very peaceful, too.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  4. Friend of Brian H.

    Two sandwiches short of a picnic.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • darth cheney

      Plenty of ants and Kool-Aid, though.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  5. PigMan

    His doomsday predictions were his big failure. He was in interesting guy though. He was the only literal biblicist that I have any respect for. I used to listen to his program just to hear him put the callers that were trying to prove points against him right in the can. He was pretty amazing in his ability to argue the biblical points.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • snowboarder

      the delusional are often persuasive.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • knowmoststuff

      You have respect for someone who conned people and ruined their lives. Wow

      December 18, 2013 at 10:07 am |
      • PigMan

        I only respect his ability to argue his points. You may have never heard it but it was impressive.

        December 18, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Harry Pancake

      I've heard his radio show many times. The thing about his radio call-in show was he would only take the calls he knew he could explain away..... I called in once with a list of obvious bible contradictions which he couldn't explain.... hung up on me. Then of course you get the very popular "you're taking that out of context"... crapola, this means that,

      December 19, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  6. Max Menon

    " It received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009"
    What?!!! I am sure PBS executives are slamming their heads! Why did they not figure out this formula!

    December 18, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  7. conoclast

    Thanks Harold for your ignorant albeit well-intentioned message. Now that you're dead do you understand how foolish you were?

    December 18, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • huh???

      He can't read this...

      December 18, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  8. children of Israel

    Genesis 49 clearly tells you about the twelve tribes of Israel and what would befall them in the last days. That is prophecy coming to pass, the Israelites are still alive. These are the last days, are people not lovers of themselves, taking selfie's. People are covetous, their own desires. The religious are boasting about grace. The world is blasphemering the Holy Ghost. America is a proud nation. Children are disobedient full of vaccines towards their parents. Many are unthankful and unholy. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for he hath visited and redeemed his people

    December 18, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • snowboarder

      just like practically every other time in human history. yawn.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Wingingittoo


      December 18, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "The age of evil has come to the world . Everyone steals and hoards great wealth, and sensual sin rules the day. The end of the world is at hand – yet men are hard and cruel, and listen not to the doom that is coming . No one heeds the cries of his neighbour, or lifts a hand to save."

      The ancient prophecies are being fulfilled as we speak!
      Bow before Odin for The Ragnarok is nigh!

      December 18, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Maine Liberal

      Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
      Deu 18:21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
      Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

      Jer 23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah

      December 18, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • A in Pa

      Those are as true today and they were 2000 years ago, the bible and it's interpreters are just as good as tarot card readers and their predictions. Both are preying on the fears and hopes of the human race.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      Vaccines? What?

      Christians have been claiming that the end is nigh for the last 2000 years. Your threats are impotent and empty.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Informed

      An interesting, if not pointless observation. You do realize that you are trying to extract meaning from a book that was essentially written as a collection of fairy tales? Next thing you will be claiming is that Mary Poppins will float down from the sky on an umbrella.Come on and grow up.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Billy

      The Aztecs nailed it with their calendar showing a crowned monstrous face. A clear foretelling of the zombie apocalypse of 2012 briefly eclipsed by the queen's diamond jubilee.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • huh???

      LOLZ at thinking America is a proud nation. As an American, I'm feeling more and more ashamed of being called "American" every day.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Jake

      Any prediction is useless without a specific time and location. General predictions like war is coming has no merit when there is war somewhere on the globe.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  9. Ally


    December 18, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  10. mariosphere

    He went the way of all self-proclaimed prophets. Just another human being bent on spreading fear.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  11. drachefly

    I'm impressed that he stopped after failing twice. Congratulations, brother! You've seen the light!

    December 18, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  12. mindstorms1

    At some point life on our planet will come to an end because like any star, the Sun won't last forever.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • tmarlin1221

      Every conservative is loading up with guns b/c they're all going to get us !!

      December 18, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • mwesigwa brian oga

      psalms 119; 1-2
      Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the lord, blessed are they that keep his testimonies and that seek with the whole heart.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  13. A in Pa

    Well, now he can talk to God about his addiction to making over reaching prophecy predictions and why he was so anxious for judgment day.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Wingingittoo

      No he can't. His god(s) don't exist.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  14. freedomofspeechimamerican

    God Bless You Harold, I listened to you for years, I remember driving Route 17 from Santa Cruz to San Jose every time
    I listened to your show Open Forum it was great. I THINK PEOPLE FORGET HAROLD would read the bible and talk
    about he verses, only every once in a while he went to the end of the world bit thats when someone would call in.
    Harold was a good man and that's the part that will be remembered, He tried to good. He will be remembered by
    all the people who's life he touched, He was a great man, Sunday he entered Heaven God Bless You Harold.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • igaftr

      To bad the actual facts and this man's history tell a different story....

      December 18, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Wingingittoo

      He's going to go into a hole in the ground unless he's cremated. And, he like you and many of the rest of you believers aren't going anywhere the rest of us aren't going.

      We'll just do it in a different way and a different time.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Liberal Iowan

      The only way most people will remember him is as that nutcase who kept predicting the end of the world.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • AgnosticsAllowed

      Oh shoot! I live in San Francisco and often drive the 17 between San Jose and Santa Cruz. This nutcase is way too close to me! I'm hoping you keep both hands on the wheel while you listen to Christian windbags and aren't throwing them up in the air in rapturous "Hosanna's" when behind the wheel. You guys are dangerous enough without your crazy driving!!

      December 18, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Hiram57

      It doesn't surprise me that greedy Frauds like Camping have always existed, given that there are so many gullible, non-critical, sheeplike folks who eat their BS up!
      I suppose that it's easier to blindly follow another, rather than think for yourself...

      December 18, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  15. dwayne

    Everyone dies. He is with Jesus now.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Hank

      Yes, everyone dies. But when they do, they are just dead, no jesus, no satan....just dead. But because of people craving for the fantastical, this guy died $80,000,000.00 richer.
      Maybe I should open a church, seems prophetable.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:54 am |
      • Liberal Iowan

        Prophetable..................now that's funny. Please don't think that you are the first person to think of starting a religion to make money though. L. Ron Hubbard did it a long time ago.

        December 18, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • rick-o

      Nope, he's in a hole in the ground by himself

      December 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  16. Steve Miller

    nothing happened, so he INCORRECTLY PREDICTED the end of the world.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • snowboarder

      as will anyone that tries. there will never be a religious end of the world.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Unlo4

      Why does everyone seem to think that a prediction must be correct to be correctly labelled a prediction? A prediction is a claim, nothing more or less, with no bias to being correct or not.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  17. RB

    I think of predestination in context of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We are all predestined to be reconciled to our loving heavenly father, and yet some exercise their freewill and reject him.

    This simplifies the concept of freewill as well. We have limited freewill, it is limited in that God will intervene to carry out his plan for all of creation, but he won’t force you individually to accept him, you get to decide. He will stack the deck in your favor by presenting the good news to your heart and mind, his holy spirit will show you your need. However, if you continue to reject him, he will let you have your way.

    God knowing what you will ultimately do, in no way prevents you from making the choice. Let go of your lust of the flesh, lust of the eye for the things of the world, and the pride of this life. Humble yourself and obtain the abundant life in time that leads to an eternal life in heaven.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • magicpanties

      Nice word salad.
      Totally without meaning or relevance, but nice nonetheless.
      My invisible pink unicorn needed a snack.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:31 am |
      • maxmaxwell

        hahahahahahaha now that was funny................

        December 18, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • igaftr

      Don't be silly...everyone knows you can't get into Valhalla unlesss you die in glorious battle.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'God knowing what you will ultimately do, in no way prevents you from making the choice.'
      Of course it does because it means that although you think you made the choice freely it has already been decided for you, you cannot change anything.
      All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players.
      We have our lines already written for us, there is no ad-lib here.
      Heck, it means as well there isnt even a point to life because its already been seen what will happen so the whole thing is pointless.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:38 am |
      • RB

        You do get to choose. Let’s play the shell game, except with just two shells. If I put a pea under both, I know you will win, the game is rigged. I should just give you the prize and forget about playing. This is how you just described life, if God is all knowing.
        Let’s play again. I put the pea under one shell. I tell you which one to pick, because I know where the pea is and I want you to win. You still get to pick.
        One more time, same as above, except I have a time machine. I go into the future and see you pick. How does my independent knowledge prevent you from choosing?

        December 18, 2013 at 10:15 am |
        • igaftr

          very very poor analogy.
          There are an infinite number of shells to look under.

          December 18, 2013 at 10:16 am |
        • RB

          Not really, you can't get to more shells, until you make the first choice. Shell 1, God or Shell 2, no God.

          December 18, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • igaftr

          Not really...
          Since there are thousands of gods, that would mean thousands of shells, just for the gods men have worshipped, then add in the ones or the one that no one yet knows about, then add in the near infinite nummber of other possibilities.....

          There aren't just two choices you see.....unless you are a christian supremacist, that actuall believes ALL other possibilities are invalid, which would just show you are blinded to reality by belief in a book.

          December 18, 2013 at 11:11 am |
      • rick-o

        You don't need a fairytale god for your life to have meaning. Sounds like you have a very empty head.

        December 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @rb, do you honestly think that your comment doesn't sound just plain nuts?

      December 18, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Madtown

      that he gave his only begotten Son
      I find the concept of God's "only son" to be interesting. Why only 1? Isn't God omnipotent? Couldn't he have more offspring? Are there limits on his procreative power?

      December 18, 2013 at 9:51 am |
      • snowboarder

        the whole idea of a blood sacrifice by an omnipotent being is ludicrous.

        December 18, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • snowboarder

          @lol??, cain never existed.

          December 18, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          What are you a Mormon asking Snowboarder if he's black?

          December 18, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • lol??

          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          Cain thought so to and he lived. Have any of his genes??

          December 18, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • cedar rapids

        i always find it funny that people throw begotten around like its some kind of really deep word that adds extra weight to the claim or something.

        December 18, 2013 at 10:06 am |
      • RB

        Why would an all-powerful God need another?

        December 18, 2013 at 10:19 am |
        • Madtown

          Why? Maybe because there were actually other human beings alive living in different parts of the world at that time?!? Why did God "send his son"? To provide a message of salvation? What about the humans living on the North American continent at that time, they didn't deserve the message? The point is, if God is all-powerful, he could create as many offspring as it took to deliver this supposed divine message to ALL his equal creations, if it was a message he wanted us to follow. Since this didn't happen, it's just simple logic to think that the message isn't that important.

          December 18, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Wingingittoo

      Hi Irreverent RB! Didn't think you'd show up here, but since it involves religion, why not?

      Still spouting that gibberish I see? These people here will learn about you too. Funny how you just never learn.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:00 am |
      • RB

        Are we acquainted?

        December 18, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • AgnosticsAllowed

      More of your silly nonsense RB? Don't you ever tire of showing up and preaching on the web? Get a building and start a church for crap's sake! Maybe, just maybe, you'll find some deluded people who will believe you!

      December 18, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  18. magicpanties

    I'd like to hear from some of the suckers that gave up all their possessions and believed this idiot's delusional proclamations.

    It's one thing to believe in imaginary beings; it's downright evil when those beliefs inflict suffering on others.
    Harold Camping personally caused thousands to give up all the family possessions.
    That was criminal and really, really evil.
    I don't care if he had "good" intentions, he destroyed a lot of lives.

    A great example of why religion should be exposed for the fraud that it is, and go the way of other mythologies.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It could be worse.
      In the year 2000, nearly 1,000 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God in Uganda were exhumed from graves at house rented by sect leader Dominic Kataribabo.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • igaftr

      39 members of Heavens Gate tried to catch the UFO that was in Hale Bopp's tail....39 more dead due to religios nutjobs.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • lol??

      Obama's healthscare is much worse. You Beastie LUVERS should climb off yer high Pale Horse.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:54 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Wasn't Roney supposed to be the White Horse?

        December 18, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  19. TonyInNYC

    I predict he can't take it with him.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:27 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.