Mourners from around the world will pay their last respects this weekend to Zachery Tims Jr., the founder and senior pastor of one of Florida's most largest churches.
A public memorial and funeral was schedule to be held this week after the body of the megachurch pastor was found in a hotel in New York.
The Florida church leader was discovered in the W hotel in Times Square, New York, on Aug. 12 during his visit to the city for a speaking engagement and meetings, sources said.
Tims' church, New Destiny Christian Center, will hold a public viewing of the body this Friday, between 3 to 7 p.m. EST, the church said. A funeral will be held on Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Orlando, however that ceremony will now be private.
The change comes after the church had initially said it would broadcast the funeral live for supporters who couldn't make it to the location.
Continue Reading Below
Church representatives also posted a flyer for those who wanted to send flowers or gifts to instead send donations to the Bank of America for the Dr. Zachery Tims Jr. Children's Trust.
The 42-year-old pastor was found dead with a plastic envelope containing a white powdery substance police believe to be narcotics, authorities told WSJ.
Supporters were quick to come to Tims' defense, urging people to respect his family and not jump to conclusions.
Let's ignore the negativity. Let's keep those who know nothing of what Pastor Zach did for the community and his spiritual family in high prayer, one supporter wrote on New Destiny's Facebook page.
Police also said there were no signs of trauma to the body and foul play wasn't suspected. An autopsy was inconclusive and authorities are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.
Church members, fans, friends and family have grieved all week.
I join many others in being saddened by the news of the death of Rev. Zachery Tims of Florida, tweeted the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Today my heart is grieved over the loss of my spiritual son and long time friend and associate, Pastor Zachery Tims, said megachurch pastor Paula White on her Facebook page.
My thoughts and prayers for Pastor Zachary Tims of New Destiny Christian Center in FL's family and congregation. May you RIP in God's love, said another commenter on the church's Facebook page.
Thank you Pastor Tims for opening permanent doors for me, read a post from one woman on New Destiny's Facebook page. Because of you I actually am created new in order to be a better woman of God and I can say this with confidence.
A former drug addict, Tims was saved in 2006, according to the church Web site.
I was 19 and terribly bound by cocaine, he explained in his book, titled It's Never Too Late, published by Charisma House Publications.
Tims ran to the home of a man in his neighborhood known as the Holy Roller and said, I'm ready to get saved.
After discovering Christianity, he earned degrees in accounting and theology and worked at a ministry in Baltimore. In 1996, he and his ex-wife Riva moved to Orlando, where they founded the New Destiny Christian Center.
The church has since grown to more than 8,000 members, and its broadcasts reach 100 million households. The church is well-known in the Apopka area for its charitable deeds for the poor.