Bishop Eddie Long is dead at 63 after suffering from an “aggressive form of cancer.” Since news broke of his passing on the morning of Sunday, Jan. 15, many have been in mourning as others have erupted in speculation over his cause of death.
A statement released by New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, said Long had “a gallant private fight” with an undisclosed type of cancer.
“As a man of God with unyielding faith, Bishop Long maintained his commitment to our Heavenly Father as he proclaimed that cancer would not kill his faith nor his spirit,” the statement said in part.
“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 late church leader’s wife of 27 years, First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, said in the statement.
The church said a homegoing service will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 11 a.m.
Atlanta radio personality Frank Ski spoke to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Long’s impact on his congregation.
“The hardest job in the world is to be a church pastor,” Ski said. “Your job every single day is to pray for other people who are hurting. When you are hurting, who prays for you? He affected and motivated so many people. His ability to be a great orator really helped people.”
Long’s daughter, Taylor Long, also mourned her father on Instagram.
“Thank you for being the greatest example of a wonderful father and husband,” she wrote in part. “You kicked cancers a–! Job well done my angel.”
I love you Dad. Thank you for being perfect. I cherish every moment i've shared w/ you even up to your last breath. I don't blame God for wanting you back, i would too. everything i do is for you, it's been my honor to be your daughter. thank you for being the greatest example of a wonderful father & husband. You kicked cancers ass! Job Well Done my angel.❤️
Mourners expressed their gratitude on Twitter.
Rest In Peace Bishop Eddie Long. You touched the lives of so many people including my mom. ? Thank you
— Jessica Love (@_jessloveme) January 15, 2017
R.I.P. Bishop Eddie Long… Thank you for being another good leader for our people. pic.twitter.com/lfDLRUuQfM
— Mike West aka MJ (@MikeWestAkAMJ) January 15, 2017
Bishop Eddie Long, I can hear God say well done my faithful servant! Thank you for impacting thousands of other ministers of the Gospel!
— Gary Hawkins (@BishopGHawkins) January 15, 2017
Facebook also was a place for people to grieve.
I remember New Years Eve Watch Night Service at the Georgia Dome around 1996. My heart was hurting bad. Bishop Eddie…
REST IN PEACE BISHOP EDDIE LONG:
You made great impact while you were here.
Good night to a father, a voice, a mentor & a great leader.
Have your rest sir.
Last month, footage surfaced showing the pastor looking much thinner than before, which led social media to speculate what illness Long was suffering from. That same talk resumed after his death.
#EddieLong died of stone cold full blown AIDS or Zika
There I said it ?????
— BB Chronicles (@StephBee8111) January 15, 2017
I wonder if Eddie Long died of AIDS.. if it was cancer why did he lie about it at 1st and said it was a new diet?
— kenyafaith (@KenyaFaith) January 15, 2017
Some have lashed out at the bishop for his alleged sexual abuse of several teenage boys brought up in a 2010 lawsuit.
Y'all throw your kids out for admitting they're gay, but mourn a bishop who molested teen boys? That Bible is a helluva drug. #EddieLong
— Kinfolk Kollective (@knflkkollective) January 15, 2017
The real tragedy of #EddieLong is that as long as his rape victims are still alive, he will never be dead.
— Villarreality (@_Villarreality_) January 15, 2017