Funeral services have been announced for Bishop Eddie Long, a megachurch pastor in suburban Atlanta, who died this weekend after a lengthy illness.
The service for Long, who died Sunday at 63 after battling an aggressive form of cancer, will be held Jan. 25 at his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia.
The announcement of his death reportedly hit his congregation hard.
“New Birth members fell down, cried, screamed when ministers announced death of Bishop Eddie Long,” tweeted Marissa Mitchell, a reporter for the local Fox News affiliate.
— Marissa Mitchell (@MarissaMFOX5) January 15, 2017
Long had been senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist since 1987, where he built its membership from 300 members to more than 25,000 in its heyday. However, Long’s ministry was stained in 2010 amid lawsuits by several young men who accused Long of sexual impropriety.
Long revealed he was battling a “health challenge” in September amid widespread speculation about his health stemming from rapid weight loss. However, after a monthlong sabbatical away from the church, he’d claimed to be healed.
“I’ve been on a journey and just recalibrating myself and like I said, I had some health issues and God has healed me. The manifestation is coming through and we stand in that,” Long told his followers in an Oct. 9 video recording that marked his pastoral anniversary.
Megachurch pastor and businessman T.D. Jakes called Long a “mighty man of valor.”
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a mighty man of valor, embattled warrior, learned and beloved pastor and man I call friend, Bishop Eddie L. Long,” Jakes said in an issued statement. “We will miss his enigmatic catchphrase — uttered just above a whisper, ‘watch this …’ — his love for the Gospel shared liberally and a ministry that impacted lives around the globe.”