Famed Evangelical leader, Rev. Jerry Falwell, died yesterday morning at the age of 73. Falwell was well known for his leadership of Christian conservatives and is often credited for bringing them to political prominence. Among his accomplishments are: the establishment of the political advocacy group the Moral Majority, the founding of Liberty University, and leading Thomas Road Baptist Church as its pastor.
Rev. Falwell’s passing was discovered yesterday morning when members of his staff found him unconscious in his office around 11:30 a.m. He was rushed to Lynchburg General Hospital and officially pronounced dead at 12:40 p.m. Falwell's family, including his wife, Macel, and two sons were with him at the time of his death.
President George W. Bush and the First Lady extended their condolences to the family. “Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Jerry Falwell, a man who cherished faith, family, and freedom,” said Bush.
“Jerry lived a life of faith and called upon men and women of all backgrounds to believe in God and serve their communities,” he said. “One of his lasting contributions was the establishment of Liberty University, where he taught young people to remain true to their convictions and rely upon God’s word throughout each stage of their lives.”
Ministry officials called a special 2 p.m. meeting in the Thomas Road Baptist Church auditorium. On less than an hour’s notice, more than 6,000 faculty, staff, students and church members attended the announcement of the passing of their pastor and chancellor.
Rev. Falwell established the Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1956 where he was pastor for over 50 years. He founded Liberty University in 1971 and oversaw its rise to prominence as the largest evangelical University in America.