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. soul68

    Apparently the prediction was only for himself. Goodnight crazy goofballman.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  2. Viking

    That guy used to be on TV not too long ago here in NJ. Some public channel I forget. But I remember shaking my head when he actually said with regards to plate tectonics, that "it must have been an awful noise", in other words the continents moved all at once, to their current positions, by divine breath. Not that I'm happy to see the man die, but this kind of ignorance slowing dying out is good. He can't poison any more young minds.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  3. Humans at their best

    Well "his" doomsday was a couple of years off ...but other that that I'd say he was dead on... BAwahahaha!!!

    What are you laughing about??! ... you got a doomsday coming too! Bawahahaha

    December 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  4. magicpanties

    what's really sad is that this guy, in the name of religion, caused so many people to give away all their money and possessions for a ridiculous fantasy

    December 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  5. Chris

    Shouldn't this read: "preacher who mis-predicted doomsday?"

    December 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  6. Ralph_in_FL

    It stands to reason that, if enough people predict the end of the world for long enough, eventually one of them will be right, if only by accident.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
  7. magicpanties

    yeah, the rapture is gonna happen in your lifetime because you are so important

    guffaw, and unicorns are real too

    December 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
  8. Thatguy371

    I believe the Bible says that we'll not know the day or the time of our death or the end of the world. And what would it matter anyway? Just keep your mind and heart open and be willing to accept something besides the here and now.... because there is more than that. And don't look at finite man's view of religion as an excuse to avoid a greater power.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  9. hubert39

    Wait a minute. Preachers, men of God etc. have been predicted the end of the world for the last 1000 plus years.
    Never understood why this man received so much press.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  10. Chiefdan

    So many nuts in the world

    December 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  11. David

    Your real problem is whether YOU exist, not whether God exists. If there is no God, then everything is just physics and matter, molecules and forces. Then your brain is essentially no different from a rock on the ground, except for the particular arrangement of those atoms. And the next thing that you say is just brain chemistry. There is no YOU that speaks, just brain chemistry producing sound out of your mouth. Is that right or not?

    Molecules can’t decide between good ideas and bad ideas, between logic and illogic, between right and wrong. Everything about YOU tells YOU that YOU exist! There is more to YOU than molecules. And once YOU admit that YOU exist, it’s easy to figure out that God exists.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • wolf

      There is so much ignorance of basic science and logic here.

      December 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
      • Thatguy371

        Actually David makes a good, simple, easily understood point.

        December 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          You are partly right....simple is certainly a word that comes to mind.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:04 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          No...actually he doesn't. Arguing that individual molecules can't be intricately arranged to form a thinking brain is like saying electrical wires can't be intricately arranged to form a computer. There is also a misunderstanding about scale. Materials have properties that aren't observable from their molecular makeup. How many molecules of water does it take to get to wet? Every material in the universe is made up of just the 100 or so elements of the periodic table with the vast majority being lower in atomic weight than iron (Fe). From just a few dozen basic building blocks we get millions of different materials with unique and varied unpredictable properties. Chlorine (Cl) is a poisonous gas. Sodium (Na) is a dangerously reactive metal. Together they form sodium chloride (NaCl) or table salt.
          At a higher scale we get DNA. Just 4 nucleotides or organic molecules (C G T and A) form the double helix of DNA. From just these 4 units, combined in different ways, we get every different life form on the planet. By his argument these independent, non-living organic molecules cannot be combined to form a living thing, yet they obviously do.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • John

      You make the assumption that to be made of molecules is something less than substantial. We are made of the same things as rocks. We are part of the fabric of the universe. You can speculate that the universe is God or that God created the universe, but that doesn't really solve the problem, does it? Who made God? And if God's not part of our universe, then He is not limited by Time and therefore chronologically-speaking creation could not have happened.

      December 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
      • David

        God has always existed, he has no beginning. After death, time is irrelevant. We are all eternal souls and have no beginning or end. Our brains cannot understand that now but after death you'll understand.

        December 17, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • doobzz

      Don't eat the brown acid.

      December 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Oh really now . . .

      David, just because you have a rock for a brain doesn't mean that everyone else has one too.

      December 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  12. Jackson Marlowe

    Bet the old SOB didn't see the floor coming....

    December 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  13. nuclear mike

    Jerry Farwell has his buddy with him now...but neither are enjoying the "hot weather"...

    December 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • oscar

      How do you know this to be fact?

      December 17, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  14. MJ

    Obama voter too?

    December 17, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • N

      Romney. Another loser.

      December 17, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  15. MarkA

    He was just one of many religious fanatics out there who feel their belief is the one and only correct belief. They are arrogant fools, more foolish than those who accept the nonsense as truth.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • oscar

      You must not be a Christian right MarkA? for if you were then you should know what the Holy bible teaches about calling someone a fool.

      December 17, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
      • bilbfit

        What verse?

        December 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
      • hubert39

        He might not be a Christian. Remember their are over 1000 religions in the world.

        December 17, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
        • Oh

          And devoutly religious people are certain that 999 of the other religions missed the mark.

          December 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  16. JJ

    I wonder what all the idiots who sold all their belongings and traveled the country in RVs warning people thought after his latest predictions proved to be false? I never heard from any of them after that. Do they all feel stupid now?

    December 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  17. annier

    Bet he wasn't wrong in the estimation of tens of $$millions he saw coming his way because of his B.S.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Wes Scott

      You got that right! A con man always knows how to sell a good story to the gullible suckers who will pay him to tell them what they want to hear. Religion has been selling those fairy tales for thousands of years, and there are as many suckers today as ever. But, if it makes them happy to believe in sky fairies, then more power to them. As Mick once said, "We all need someone we can lean on..."

      December 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  18. Raymond

    As the Ice Cube song goes, " Today was a good day"

    December 17, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  19. cpc65

    If you keep saying the end is coming, eventually you will be right.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • oscar

      Jesus will come again but in gods time. Could be in the next second or thousands of years from now.

      December 17, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • G to the T

        It's a nice rationalization but even a cursory view of the bible and it's history would tell you otherwise.

        December 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Imagine his lack of surprise when his mind stopped and that was it.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • oscar

      How do you know this to be fact?

      December 17, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Well, oscar, it's something you'll have to fail to experience for yourself.

        December 17, 2013 at 10:50 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.