LITHONIA, Ga., Jan. 16 (UPI) — The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church said Eddie Long, the Georgia-based pastor who once led the megachurch, has died at the age of 63.
“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,” the church said in a statement. “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.”
The church had about 25,000 members at its peak.
“I am confidant through my belief in God that my husband is now resting in a better place,” wife Vanessa Long said in 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.”
The church said the pastor is survived by his wife, four children and three grandchildren.
In 2010, Long and his church settled a lawsuit filed by four men who accused Long of pressuring them into sexual relationships while they were teenage members of his congregation. Long denied the allegations.