US & Canada

US doomsday preacher Harold Camping dies at 92

Mose Macdonald works in the impound yard of Stealth Recovery and Towing in Eugene, Oregon near a billboard proclaiming the upcoming judgment day 19 May 2011
Image caption Camping's organisation bought advertisting on more than 5,000 billboards to spread the message

A US preacher and Christian broadcaster who predicted the end of the world three times has died age 92.

Harold Camping, a retired civil engineer, died at his home on Sunday after a stay in hospital for a fall.

His independent Christian ministry, formed in 1958, most recently spent millions warning the world that the end of days would come on 21 May 2011.

He was criticised by other Christian leaders after some believers sold their possessions to help his cause.

'Our appointed time'

Camping was born in 1921, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1942. He started a construction business soon after the end of World War Two.

In 1958, he formed Family Stations Ministry, which eventually broadcast in 30 languages on a network of more than 140 radio stations and online.

He eventually sold the broadcaster to focus on his ministry.

His family had been part of the Christian Reformed Church, which Camping left in 1988 after concluding it no longer faithfully represented Biblical teaching.

He first predicted doomsday would come on 6 September 1994, and when that day passed without apocalyptic incident he claimed he had made a mathematical error.

More than a decade later, Camping's ministry began warning judgment day was to come on 21 May 2011, using more than 5,000 billboards and 20 recreational vehicles plastered with the message.

Image caption In March 2012, Camping "humbly" acknowledged he was wrong about the end of the world

Christian leaders around the world denounced the warning. Many criticised the practice of believers donating their life savings in order to spread the message, believing they would no longer need worldly possessions.

"We're not in the business of financial advice," Camping said after the May 2011 prediction failed to come true.

"We're in the business of telling people there's someone who you can maybe talk to, maybe pray to, and that's God."

He suffered a stroke three weeks after the day passed, and then told followers the rapture was coming five months later.

He and his wife retreated to a motel after October 2011 passed without the apocalypse.

"We realise that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ's return," Camping wrote in March 2012, apologising to followers.

"We humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing."

Camping, who lived for many years in a suburb of Oakland, California and wrote 30 books and pamphlets, is survived by his wife of 71 years, Family Radio Network said in a statement.

"We know that each of us remain in God's hand, and God is the One who knows our appointed time to leave our earthly body behind," the statement said.

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