Bishop Eddie Long died early on Sunday morning, January 15, 2017 at the age of 63. Cancer has been confirmed as the cause of his death. His wife, Vanessa Long, and his megachurch made statements about his death following a battle with an aggressive form of cancer. The senior pastor had just returned to New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia on December 11, 2016 after a brief absence. He preached his final sermon on New Year's Eve.

Statements from wife and church

Vanessa Long made a statement that her husband's transition leaves a void for those who loved him dearly.

However, they can celebrate and be happy for him knowing that he is at peace.

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church also made a statement that Bishop Long was known as the most influential faith leader in the world. He was described as a strong kingdom builder and a pioneer, among other things. The statement also said that the church of 25,000 members celebrates the life and legacy of their bishop, who is now spiritually healed and home with the Lord.

Bishop Long's illness

Long has been in the news repeatedly over several months because of his drastic weight loss. His illness was initially only described as a health challenge. At first, he posted a video and publicly announced that he was on a raw vegan diet that caused him to lose weight so rapidly.

Last September, he admitted that he was facing a serious illness. Since then, he has been absent from the church on many occasions.

In December, Bishop Long told the congregation that the church services would be reduced to just one.

He also told members to refrain from calling him because there were just so many calls and texts for him to answer. Besides, they were asking a lot of questions. He recommended that if they wanted to help him, just keep attending church, and bring a friend with them.

Funeral service

The church has not said when the homegoing service will be, but details will be announced soon.

The bishop is survived by his wife of 27 years, four children, Eric, Edward, Jared, and Taylor, and three grandchildren. The Long family thanks the public for their prayers, condolences, messages, and support. They also request that their privacy be respected as preparations are being made to honor the bishop's life and legacy.