Bishop Eddie Long, leader of one of America’s largest megachurches, died at age 63.
Long died after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer, according to a statement by the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
Long was a national figure and one of the most innovative and polarizing pastors in the contemporary church. He was also a paradox.
“When he spoke, black people all over the country listened to him,” said Shayne Lee, a sociologist who studies the black Pentecostal church. “He was part of the repackaging of Christianity for post-civil rights African-Americans.”
Long’s wife, who stood by him through his rise and fall from national fame, released a statement.
“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,” Vanessa Long said.
Long delivered his final message to New Birth as the church 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,” the statement says.
Proving their friendship was true, Jakes released a lengthy statement singing the late pastor’s praises, calling him a “mighty man of valor.”
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a mighty man of valor, embattled warrior, learned and beloved pastor and man I call friend, Bishop Eddie L. Long,” it read. “We will miss his enigmatic catchphrase uttered just above a whisper, ‘Watch this…,’ his love for the Gospel shared liberally and a ministry that impacted lives around the globe.”
Also offering condolences to Long’s family and congregation, he said, “To the New Birth family, no words can ease the pain of your loss… To his beloved widow, Vanessa, and his children who feel the brunt of the loss most deeply and profoundly, we pray for you especially.”
Who was Bishop Eddie Long?
The church’s growth was immensely profitable to Long personally. According to a 2005 AJC investigation, Long earned at least $3.07 million in salary, benefits and use of property between 1997 and 2000 — nearly as much as it gave to all other recipients combined during those years, according to the tax records.
He told the AJC then that his compensation was based on the scale of his work.
“We’re not just a church, we’re an international corporation,” Long said. “We’re not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can’t talk and all we’re doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around this world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation.
“You’ve got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that’s supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering.”
Long was also known for his spiritual and charitable work. As exemplified by the outpouring of grief from Atlantans after his death, his ministry was prominent and extremely well-known in Atlanta.
How did Eddie Long die?
According to a press release, Long died from “an aggressive form of cancer.”
Was Bishop Eddie Long’s death related to him losing weight?
The exact details of his medical issues have not been released. However, in recent months Long appeared to have lost a significant amount of weight, even looking gaunt. At the time, he attributed it to eating a better diet.
Last September, he told the public he was suffering from an unspecified “health challenge.” In October 2016, he said that God had healed him. You can see his weight changes in our gallery of him over the years.
How old was Bishop Eddie Long when he died?
Long was 63.
Did Eddie Long have family?
Long was survived by his wife of 27 years, Vanessa. He had four children: Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor. He also had three grandchildren, which the church’s release does not name.
Vanessa Long, first lady elder of New Missionary, told the church, “I am confident 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.”
When will Bishop Eddie Long’s funeral be held?
The funeral date and more details will be announced in the “near future,” according to the press release.
Where is the Bishop Eddie Long obituary?