After months of speculation about his weight loss and overall health, Bishop Eddie Long passed away this morning as announced by his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. He was 63 years old.
In a statement from the church, they note his reported cause of death:
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church celebrates the life and legacy of Bishop Eddie L. Long who is now spiritually healed and home with the Lord. 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. 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. First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, Bishop Long’s wife of 27 years offered the following. “I am confidant through my belief in God that my 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.”
Deeply committed to his church, even in his last days, Bishop Long delivered his final message to New Birth as we ushered in 2017. He told the church that God was already working in our favor and what we have been praying for was already manifested. In his departure, we receive that and as faithful members of New Birth, we praise God for the life of Bishop Long. Bishop Long was known as one of the most influential faith leaders in the world. He stood strong as a Kingdom Builder, pioneering leader, and revolutionary mind changer. Long was a family man and spiritual leader who was well respected and loved for his passion to unapologetically and courageously preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Long inspired thousands of believers around the world through his global ministry that literally changed lives.
Through his earthly battle, Bishop Long believed that God was once again using him to help others see the power of the Holy Spirit through the love New Birth displayed to him and the countless prayers sent up by others from every corner of the earth.Bishop Eddie L. Long was 63 years old. He is survived by his beautiful wife, First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, 4 children Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor and 3 grandchildren. The Long family thanks you for your prayers, condolences and messages of love. The family appreciates your support and respect of their privacy, as they prepare along with New Birth, for the homegoing service to honor Bishop Long. The date and other details will be announced in the near future.
The legacy of the Lithonia, GA-based mega-church pastor carries scrutiny from a slew of sexual abuse charges from men in the surrounding community back in 2010. The pastor was accused of having sexual relationship with boys as young as 17 at the time, and a photo allegedly sent to one of these young men turned up at the time.
As reported by ABC News at the time: Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is the same church that hosted Coretta Scott King’s funeral in 2006, a ceremony that some civil rights leaders refused to attend because Long is so anti-gay. According to the separate lawsuits filed in DeKalb County, Ga., by Robinson, Flagg, Parris and LaGrande, Long conducted what they called private spiritual ceremonies in which he “coerced certain young male members and employees” into sexual acts and relationships. Long’s attorney, Craig Gillen, countered the men’s claims, writing in a statement, “Bishop Eddie Long adamantly denies the allegations.
In the years to follow, Long’s wife went from trying to divorce him to sticking by his side. And the allegations fell from the public eye.
We’ll report as more information comes in.