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Life and Death of Controversial Megachurch Pastor Eddie Long Who Died of Cancer at 63

Stephen Thompson
Aug 19, 2020
04:30 A.M.

Eddie Long was one of the most controversial pastors in modern history with one of the most massive followings ever recorded. Here is a crash course on the paradoxical life he lived.

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Eddie Long was an American pastor who was regarded as a national figure. While alive, he was among the most popular and dominant pastors in the modern church.

Long led one of America's most populated megachurches. However, his life was a paradox.

Bishop Eddie Long gives a sermon at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on September 26, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia | Photo: Getty Images

Bishop Eddie Long gives a sermon at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on September 26, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia | Photo: Getty Images

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LONG'S PARADOXICAL LIFE

As a preacher, Long stood firmly against same-sex union and homosexuality, yet he was involved in a case with four men who alleged that he forced them into sexual activities when they came of age.

Long wore fitted muscle shirts and gave off confident vibes. However, he would often throw up just before facing the congregation because of his nervousness.

Long was a benevolent man who would reportedly dash out vehicles and pay school tuition for the less privileged.

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Still, he was probed by parliament after a charity organization he founded made him its highest benefactor, providing him with an expensive home and a luxury car.

Long tagged himself as a "spiritual daddy" to errant teenagers.

As a preacher, Long's sphere of influence reached far and wide. Because he was Black, he had the ears of the majority of the Black masses in the country.

He presided over the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church which started with 300 members and peaked at 25,000 members under his leadership. The church was so famous that it was nicknamed "Club New Birth."

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Bishop Eddie Long at the 2009 Essence Music Festival presented by Coca-Cola at the Louisiana Superdome on July 5, 2009 | Photo: Getty Images

Bishop Eddie Long at the 2009 Essence Music Festival presented by Coca-Cola at the Louisiana Superdome on July 5, 2009 | Photo: Getty Images

Long's reach stretched past the Black church and reached as far as the White House itself. He once spoke before members of the parliament, made a visit to President Clinton, and was also a very famous entity in the white Pentecostal society.

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Long first achieved popularity with his ministry which was mainly focused on young men. At an age when the orthodox church had difficulty attracting young men, Long tagged himself as a "spiritual daddy" to errant teenagers.

He would engage his male ministers in basketball games and weightlifting exercises. While he had a great relationship with said ministers, the same could not be said of his relationship with his father, Floyd Long.

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RELATIONSHIP WITH FLOYD LONG

Floyd was known by many as "the cussing preacher" because of his aggressiveness. He was often distant with his son and outrightly refused to attend his football games, high school, and seminary graduation.

SEX SCANDAL ALLEGATIONS

Long's fall from grace came after the sex scandal involving four men from his church went public. The men alleged that he had used his influence, gifts, and position as a preacher to force them into sexual relationships while they were members of his church.

He denied the allegations and had the case settled off-court. However, his influence dwindled as his congregation began losing members.

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LONG'S BATTLE WITH CANCER

In the months before his demise, rumors flew around concerning his health. He seemed to have lost a considerable amount of weight and appeared sickly in public.

However, even as his health deteriorated and his once bulky frame disappeared, he kept delivering sermons claiming victory and requesting prayers from the congregation.

Long passed away in January 2017 after a severe battle with an aggressive form of cancer. He was 63 at the time, and the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church confirmed the news. After his demise, Long's position as the senior pastor of the congregation was occupied by Jamal Bryant.

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