Rev. Jerry Falwell Dies at 73
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and built the religious right into a political force, died Tuesday shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said. He was 73.
This is a breaking news update. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) – The Rev. Jerry Falwell was hospitalized in “gravely serious” condition after being found unconscious Tuesday in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said.
Ron Godwin, the university’s executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but he said Falwell “has a history of heart challenges.”
“I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast,” Godwin said. “He went to his office, I went to mine, and they found him unresponsive.”
Godwin said Falwell was receiving emergency care. A hospital spokeswoman said she had “no information to release at this time.”
Falwell, a television evangelist who founded the Moral Majority, became the face of the religious right in the 1980s. He later founded the conservative Liberty University and serves as its president.
Falwell survived two serious health scares in early 2005. He was hospitalized for two weeks with what was described as a viral infection, then was hospitalized again a few weeks later after going into respiratory arrest. Later that year, doctors found a 70 percent blockage in an artery, which they opened with stents.
Liberty University’s commencement is scheduled for Saturday, with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the featured speaker.