Zachery Tims, a Florida pastor, was found dead on the floor of his New York City Times Square hotel room on Friday, the Associated Press reported. He was 42.
No criminal activity has been suspected, the AP reported.
Tims was the senior pastor, founder and CEO of the New Destiny Christian Center (NDCC) in Orlando, Florida. His ministry had a following of more than 8,000 people, according to the NDCC Web site.
Reverend Randolph Bracy, Jr. described Tims to the Orlando Sentinel as a charismatic preacher who appealed to young people.
"That is where I think he stood apart," Bracy, Jr. told the Sentinel. "That was the background he came out of and his ministry was shaped for those who had these kinds of problems. He filled a void that was tremendously lacking in the Central Florida area."
Tims was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He lived a life of crime and spent two years in juvenile facilities after being convicted of attempted murder at the age of 14.
He was "miraculously saved, instantly delivered from drug addiction, and called into ministry," according to his biography on his ministry Web site. He earned two bachelor's degrees, one in accounting and one in theology, from two different schools. He later authored the books "It's Never Too Late" and "Free To Be Me."
He began the NDCC in 1996 with his then-wife, Riva Tims. They were married for 15 years until she filed for divorce in 2008 after Tims admitted to "an indiscretion," according to the Web site BlackChristianNews.com.
That indiscretion turned out to be a relationship with a stripper, Judy Nguyen, which lasted from August 2006 to October 2007. Several followers reportedly left his church after this.
"I submitted myself to an ecumenical counsel of clergy that came into my ministry and ran the spiritual operations while I submitted myself to a counselling and ministry facility for several months out of state," Tims said in a statement to Charisma, a Christian magazine.
Riva went on to start Majestic Life Ministries.
"There's a whole new level of forgiveness," she told Charisma of her relationship with her ex-husband. "It's a supernatural forgiveness that I can't even explain. Zachery and I are friends."
Tims is survived by the four children he had with Riva- Zoelle, Zachery III, Zahria and Zion.