Megachurch pastor Eddie Long died Sunday morning at the age of 63 after a battle with an “aggressive form of cancer,” according to a statement issued by the Atlanta-area New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
“Bishop Long, Senior Pastor of New Birth, transitioned from this life early Sunday morning after a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer,” the statement read. “As a man of God with unyielding faith, Bishop Long maintained his commitment to our Heavenly Father as he proclaimed that cancer would not kill his faith nor his spirit.”
His wife of 27 years, Vanessa Long, added to the statement that she was confident her husband “is now resting in a better place. 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.”
Born May 12, 1953, in Huntersville, North Carolina, Long became the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in 1987. The church currently serves more than 25,000 members and officiated the funeral of Coretta Scott King in 2006.
Long delivered his final sermon to the church earlier this month. He had issued a statement last September to The Christian Post confirming reports that he was battling a “health challenge,” but said the undisclosed health issue was unrelated to his raw vegetable diet and requested privacy and prayers for his recovery.
In 2010, Long was accused of sexual abuse by four male members of his congregation who claimed Long used his influence as pastor to coerce them into a sexual relationship. The lawsuits were settled out of court in 2011 to undisclosed terms.
Long is survived by his wife, Vanessa; his four children, Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor; and three grandchildren.