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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. StuporDave

    Repent, repent – the end is near. Well, it's nearer than it was yesterday. On the other hand, how about "live until you die."

    December 18, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • Quasi

      C'est la vie en rose!

      December 18, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  2. aj

    too bad he'll miss doomsday..

    December 18, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  3. The One True God

    I didn't see that one coming.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  4. Williemojorisin

    Condolences to the family.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  5. IpseCogita

    He made quite a living proving that P. T. Barnum was right when he didn't really say that famous quote.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  6. jerems

    Well, looks like his prediction after all came true. 2013 was it! Bye now, while the rest of us survive, your doomsday is here!

    December 18, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  7. Bob

    Uh, where did the "journalists" get their education. He didn't predict anything.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • sam

      Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011. "Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.," he began. "Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that's 1,978 years." Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days – the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year. Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500. Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500. Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared. "Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story," Camping said. "It's the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you're completely saved. "I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that," Camping said.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:12 am |
      • seafoodwatch

        LOL, I don't think God really bases things on math.

        December 18, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • IpseCogita

      Yes he did. The fact that he was wrong (or perhaps just running a con), does not mean it was not a prediction. Nothing int he definition of prediction requires that something be accurate to be called a prediction.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  8. Cedar Rapids

    'Harold Camping died Sunday afternoon after suffering a fall in his home'

    Yep, he had fallen and couldn't get taken up.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:01 am |
  9. iBod

    So the report is that he died as a result of a fall in his home; yet his family is saying he died peacefully. The sweet irony...

    ...In any case, there are very few people I don't mourn for - and this loon is one of them. Sorry, but I just cannot express any sympathies for his passing. There are certain people in this world who just need to go so to make room for the more intellectually inclined. The man caused plenty of people who are susceptible to believing anything pain in the midst of his predictions. People like him - frauds; they are the vilest things on the planet. If Camping truly believed in anything he preached, then he should have died realizing the eighth circle of Hell is an especial place for people like him.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Williemojorisin

      Let me guess...you have a "coexist" bummper sticker on your car?

      December 18, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  10. Si

    Well, he was right.. the world did end.. for him.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  11. bob

    He once said, "satan is a greattttt theologian" . The man ruined a great many lives though anyone who followed him only have themselves to blame.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
  12. hearties

    Unlike this guy, Jesus knew when he'd die and told them ahead of time. Jesus died for our sins, he willingly went to his death to pay for those that would believe him, repent and do the will of God. And Jesus rose again too, and they saw him. Jesus is my hero and he's in the New Testament. Read it.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • doobzz

      I did. Now will you read a science book? (A real one, not that intelligent design crap.)

      December 17, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      your hero is waiting. go meet him

      December 18, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • G to the T

      Or... the people who wrote the gospels after the fact include that bit to indicate that he knew all along. Because, after all, if he HAD to die and was one with god, he HAD to know. If he didn't he wouldn't have been who it was claimed he had to be.

      December 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  13. teri

    Bazinga!

    December 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
  14. Punchmaster

    I wonder if he could tune in Direct TV with those ears.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  15. Reality # 2

    Let us hope Family Radio dies with its founder. Said non-profit gets low marks at http://pikimal.com/charity/family-radio-2.

    *********************************************************************************************************************************************

    December 17, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  16. Craig

    Well, he messed up the date, but he did get it right when he said people were going to die. Should we give him a "half right" credit?

    December 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
  17. tcaros

    Nobody knows the day or time of the end except God.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Mark 13: 32 = Matt 24: 36 has been rigorously analyzed for historic authenticity and found to be inauthentic. For example, see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb265.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's analyses in his book Jesus After 2000 Years on pp. 91-93 and pp. 231-232.

      December 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  18. Grateful Catholic

    I'm sure his heart was in the right place, & I trust God welcomed into Heaven.
    RIP, sir.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • cheeseroll

      Brain dead, are you?

      I'm sure you won't figure that this con-man did it for the money.

      Although I bet he didn't predict the day he was going to die, did he?

      Quit being gullible.

      December 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
      • Bob

        People like this are how he made all that money. Gullibility + Magical Thinking = Profit

        December 18, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Garry

      Yeah, well, as Archie Bunker once said to Edith: "Your heart was in the right place...but your brains were out to lunch."

      December 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Jessy The Gnostic

      I trust he went to heaven only to be shown by god how wrong he was and how much emotional suffering he caused many people with his lies. Mr. Camping, if you're reading this from heaven, I have a question for you. How does it feel to be caught red handed by god?

      December 18, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  19. UriNation

    "Shirley, I predict I'm going to fall and die now."

    December 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Airplane

      Yes you are, and stop calling me Shirley

      December 17, 2013 at 11:36 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.