• Influential religious leader Eddie Long dies at 63

    By: Steve Gehlbach , Nicole Carr

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s senior pastor Eddie L. Long has died, according to the church. 

    New Birth Missionary Baptist Church announced the information stating Long had died early Sunday morning after a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer.

    Photos: Bishop Eddie Long through the years

    “I am confident through my belief in God that my 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," First Lady Elder Vanessa Long,  Long’s wife of 27 years, said. 


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    Long was 63 years old.  He is survived by his wife, children Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor, and three grandchildren. 

    "When you start talking about an icon, Bishop Long was an icon. He's preached all over the world," said Bishop Quincy Carswell, who had known Long since Long landed in Atlanta as a student in the early 80s.

    Channel 2 Action News received a statement from Bernice King, who was an elder with New Birth until 2011. 

    The statement said in part that she is "saddened to hear of the passing of Bishop Eddie L. Long" and extended her "heartfelt thoughts, prayers and condolences" to his family and the New Birth family.

    The statement went on to say: "As I reflect on his life, I am especially remembering Bishop Long's support during some of the most difficult times in my life ... the passing of my mother in 2006, and the sudden and unexpected loss of my sister in 2007.   During these devastating moments in my life, he was there for me and my family in many ways and I will forever be grateful."

    Long disclosed last year that he was recovering from an undisclosed health challenge. Many had speculated he was ill after he posted a video in August that showed him looking very gaunt.

    Long had said he was eating a raw vegan diet and giving up on a “slave menu,' trusting “God to deliver me from” from the challenge.

    "We hurt not just for ourselves personally, but for the family, because the family struggled through a lot of things, and they have been strong," church member Frank Culbreath said. "Pundits will always bring up what they thought of him and what they think went on. Unless you know, you should not throw stones unless you got facts."

    On New Birth’s website, Long's biography reads as follows: 

    Bishop Eddie L. Long is known worldwide as a pioneering leader, revolutionary mind changer, a family man, and a caring and loving pastor.  As a pioneering leader, Bishop Long is highly regarded for his vision, boldness, and unapologetic courage to walk in the supernatural. As a pastor, he is well respected and loved for his passion to bring souls into the body of Christ and join them to a local church body, and for preaching and teaching messages that change mindsets and encourage hearts.  At home, he is a doting husband to his beautiful wife, First Lady Vanessa Long and loving father to his four children and three grandchildren.  At New Birth, Bishop Long is most loved for being the ‘father of many’ – a pastor who loves God, God’s people, and who speaks life and declares, You shall  NOT die but live to proclaim the goodness of the Lord!

    The family stated in the release that they appreciate your support and to respect their privacy, as they prepare along with New Birth, for the homegoing service to honor  Long.

    The date and other details will be announced in the near future.

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