Harold Camping – who predicted the end of the world would come on May 21, 2011, among other dates – has died at the age of 92, according to an email from Family Radio.
Camping, co-founder of Family Radio and controversial doomsday radio Bible teacher, died on Sunday at around 5:30 p.m., according to the Family Radio Network email sent out Monday evening.
"On Saturday, November 30th, Mr. Camping sustained a fall in his home, and he was not able to recover from his injuries. He passed away peacefully in his home, with his family at his side," the email reads.
Camping made national as well as global headlines in 2011 when he proclaimed that Judgment Day would come on May 21. Thousands of listeners of Camping's radio show around the world believed him and many sold all their possessions, emptied their bank accounts and prepared for the rapture.
A longtime employee of Family Radio Matt Tuter had told The Christian Post in 2011 that an estimated $100 million was spent to advertise the May 21 end times date. Tuter, Family Radio's international projects manager, said that most of the money for the ads came from sales of properties and not from donations. Nevertheless, some individuals who believed Camping's end times prediction quit their jobs and spent their life savings to buy Judgment Day billboards and advertisements for the May 21st date.
The Oakland, Calif.-based radio ministry bought an estimated 1,200 billboards nationwide to promote the May 21st doomsday, according to CBS News.
Even after the May 21, 2011 date turned out to be false, Camping once again declared that he made a mistake on the timing and the Judgment Day date was actually Oct. 21, 2011. And when Oct. 21 came around without any catastrophic worldwide incident, Camping started to reevaluate his end times predictions. Then on March 2012, he announced that he does not plan to predict when the end of the world would occur again and issued an apology to listeners.
"We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God's hands and He will end time in His time, not ours!" read Camping's statement on Family Radio's website at the time. "We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically."
"Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken," Camping and Family Radio staff stated in their letter. "We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ's return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking.
"But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible's statement that 'of that day and hour knoweth no man' (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God's divine plan."
"God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding," said Family Radio in 2012 in a statement.
"[W]e must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety. At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance. If it is His good pleasure for us to continue on with our original mission, the proclamation of the Gospel, God's Word, then we must continue to look to Him."
Camping had also falsely predicted the end times would come on Sept. 6, 1994.
Despite the widespread criticisms of Camping for his false doomsday predictions, people still left messages of condolence and appreciation for Camping on Family Radio's Facebook page after hearing about his passing away:
"Dear Family Radio staff and family of Mr. Camping, may the Lord's love touch your hearts in a special way at this difficult time. May the many memories of Mr. Camping bring sweet peace to your hearts. Mr. Camping is with the Lord, praise God!" wrote a Maria Reddell.
Another listener named Evette Valle wrote, "It really saddened me to hear about the loss of Harold Camping, it brought tears to my eyes. I will truly miss him, I learned so much from the bible studies The LORD used him to teach us. May the LORD bless him and may he rejoice in the Lord. May God bless and comfort his wife, Mrs. Camping, family, friends and staff of Family Radio."
Camping is survived by his wife, Shirley, whom he had been married to for over 71 years, and seven children.