Bishop Eddie Long, the controversial head of one of the nation’s largest megachurches, has died at the age of 63. The bishop died on January 14 from an aggressive form of cancer, according to a statement from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
Embattled pastor Eddie Long, 63, presided over one of the United States’ last remaining megachurches, the Georgia-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which saw up to 25,000 members in its congregation. The church released a statement about their bishop’s death, written in part by his wife, Vanessa Long:
“Bishop Long was known as one of the most influential faith leaders in the world,” read the statement. “He stood strong as a Kingdom Builder, pioneering leader, and revolutionary mind changer. Long was a family man and spiritual leader who was well respected and loved for his passion to unapologetically and courageously preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Long inspired thousands of believers around the world through his global ministry that literally changed lives.”
“Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate and be happy for him, knowing he’s at peace,” Vanessa wrote in the statement.
The bishop, who headed New Birth Missionary since 1987, had his share of controversy. Long and the church settled a lawsuit in 2010 in which four teenagers, ranging in ages from 17 to 18 years old, accused him of pressuring them into sexual relationships while teens and members of the New Birth congregation.The teenagers accused Long of coercing them into sexual trysts with alleged promises of cars and cash, and often traveled with him. The lawsuit was settled and no charges were filed against Long or the church.
The bishop leaves behind his wife Vanessa and children Edward, Eric, Jared, and Taylor Long, as well as three grandchildren.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Eddie’s loved ones during this difficult time.