Televangelist Marcus Lamb, the founder of the conservative Christian Daystar Television Network, which repeatedly promoted anti-vaccine messages, died Tuesday after contracting COVID-19. He was 64.
“It’s with a heavy heart we announce that Marcus Lamb, president and founder of Daystar Television Network, went home to be with the Lord this morning,” the network said in a tweet. “The family asks that their privacy be respected as they grieve this difficult loss. Please continue to lift them up in prayer.”
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the network has amplified vaccine misinformation, giving routine airtime to vaccine skeptics and anti-vaccination advocates. Some guests have promoted COVID-19 conspiracy theories and treatments that have been widely debunked by medical professionals.
On Tuesday’s broadcast of the daily “Ministry Now” program, his wife, Joni, said that her husband had developed “COVID pneumonia” after contracting the virus. She said he had pre-existing conditions.
“He never talked about that,” she said. “He had diabetes, but he kept it in check. He was very healthy.”
She said they had both been following “many of the protocols talked about here on Daystar” to treat him and that he “100% believed in everything we’ve talked about here on Daystar.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a spiritual attack from the enemy,” Jonathan Lamb said of his father’s COVID-19 infection during a Nov. 23 broadcast on the network, Religion News Service reported.
“As much as my parents have gone on here to kind of inform everyone about everything going on to the pandemic and some of the ways to treat COVID — there’s no doubt that the enemy is not happy about that. And he’s doing everything he can to take down my dad.”
Daystar, headquartered in Texas, is the largest Christian network in the U.S. and the second-largest globally, reaching more than 2 billion people worldwide.
Marcus and his wife hosted their own show, “Marcus and Joni,” which was replaced by their daily “Ministry Now” program during the pandemic.
Daystar broadcast a series of shows featuring prominent vaccine opponents, including Robert Kennedy Jr., Del Bigtree and Dr. Simone Gold, founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, a conservative group that pushed unproven COVID-19 treatments such as hydroxychloroquine. Gold was arrested and charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In a December 2020 broadcast, Lamb hosted those three personalities, touting them as “great experts” who could help people make an “informed decision.”
In another broadcast earlier this year featuring Kennedy and Bigtree, Lamb said the COVID-19 vaccine was “not really a vaccine” and that his guests would be providing “startling up-to-date information that could save your life.”
A number of prominent anti-vaccine Christian media personalities have died of COVID-19 this year. Unvaccinated right-wing radio hosts Dick Farrell, Phil Valentine and Bob Enyart all died after contracting the virus.