According to New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Eddie Long has died at the age of 63.
The church says that he “is now spiritually healed and home with the Lord.”
The statement went on to say, “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.”
Those in the know, say that Long had maintained his commitment to God and had said that the cancer would not kill his faith or his spirit.
Many had speculated about his health after a video he published last month showed him looking thin and frail. He had not disclosed his illness previously.
While Long had missed multiple services over the last few months he was at the Church for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve services.
His wife of 27 years, First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, said, “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.”
Long served as the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a megachurch in DeKalb County, Georgia from 1987 until his death in 2017. When Long started as pastor for New Birth Church, there were 300 church members, which grew to 25,000.
In 1994, Long was given the title “bishop” in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, a group of black Baptist churches that embraced Pentecostal practices.
During this time, Long was found not guilty in Senate investigations concerning whether he personally profited from his church’s tax-exempt status. Also, civil lawsuits were filed against him alleging sexual abuse of multiple underage male members of his parish. Long has denied wrongdoing through his attorneys and privately settled the lawsuits out of court for undisclosed amounts.
A native of Hunterville, NC, Long attended North Carolina Central University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1977. In 2008, Long donated $1 million to the university to establish a professorship in his name, saying “I am making (the donation) from my own personal income,” which comes from various real estate ventures and also as royalties from his books.
In 2006, Long was chosen by the family of Martin Luther King, Jr. to host and officiate the funeral for Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of the late civil rights pioneer. The event was attended by four Presidents (George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter).
The family appreciates 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.