We have some SAD NEWS to report, Bishop Eddie Long has passed away at the age of 63!
"Today it is with great sadness I announce that our bishop has transitioned,” Bishop Christopher C. Smith said.
The expectant crowd, many already informed by social media and text messages, wailed and shrieked at the official announcement.
"He's no longer in pain,” Smith continues. "He's no longer dealing with the complications that he had to deal with."
A statement released by the church this morning confirms Long died early Sunday morning after “a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer.”
There had been much speculation about Long’s health after he posted a video last year of him looking extremely thin. He never publicly disclosed the nature of his illness.\
Long was absent at several services during recent months but was present during Christmas and New Year’s Eve services.
First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, Bishop Long’s wife of 27 years said she is confident through her belief in God that her 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,” she said.
Long delivered his final message to New Birth as the church ushered in 2017.
Atlanta's own Bishop Eddie Long looks unrecognizable in new photos. Many speculate a serious health issue, he says, "God has healed him". pic.twitter.com/TroiiDD9Lp— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) December 28, 2016
“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.
Long was named in a 2010 lawsuit by former New Birth members Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Jamal Parris and Maurice Robinson, who alleged the bishop used his influence, trips, gifts and jobs to coerce them into sexual relationships.
The court case was dismissed and Long settled out of court.
Newbirth Missionary Baptist Church, which is one of the nation's largest megachurches and has boasted about 25,000 members at its peak, has said, "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."
The church has also confirmed that Long died following a battle with an "aggressive form of cancer."
May he REST IN PEACE!