Harold Camping, president of Family Radio, a Christian radio ministry, suffered a severe stroke on Thursday night and had to be hospitalized, triggering concerns as to whether his followers will ever be able to hear his enigmatic voice broadcast over 66 stations anymore.
The 89-year-old radio evangelist was rushed to hospital from his Alameda, California home and although he is out of danger now, his friends and family fear that the stroke, which was on Camping’s right side, may affect his ability to speak.
Camping's neighbor has told the Oakland Tribune that Camping is fine but the stroke has left his speech slurred.
Charles Menut, the regional manager for Family Stations Inc., the parent company of Family Radio, has requested everyone, including the media, not to contact him or his family members but pray for them and his quick recovery.
Menut said Family Radio will “publicly update everyone on Monday” about Camping’s health.
Camping gained worldwide attention last month by famously prophesying that about 200 million people will Rapture on May 21, 2011 and the remaining left behind will die in a series of cataclysmic events, including violent earthquakes, which will completely destroy the world on October 21, 2011.
When nothing happened on May 21, Camping defended his prophecy by saying he meant spiritual Rapture and not physical Rapture. He also maintained that the world will be physically destroyed on October 21, 2011.
The prophecy made many atheists ridicule Camping even as Christian leaders condemned his prophecy.
Many of his followers, who believed in Camping’s prophecy and sold their possessions and quit their jobs in preparation of the Doomsday, were left disappointed and bitter. The prophecy gained a lot of notoriety as some people had attempted to commit suicide, believing that the End of World has come.
Some atheist groups have called for a fraud investigation, accusing Camping of defrauding his followers.
Family Radio’s net worth is estimated at nearly $100 million and it is believed that it has grown even richer, thanks to the offerings and donations made by his followers who prepared for Doomsday.