At the Martin Luther King National Historic Site, Bernice King (left) and Bishop Eddie Long pray December 11, 2004 after passing the torch at the start of a march against gay marriage and other issues. AJC FILE PHOTO

Rev. Bernice King issues statement on passing of Bishop Eddie L. Long

The Rev. Bernice A. King offered condolences to the family of Bishop Eddie L. Long, who died Sunday at 63.

“My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Elder Vanessa Long, Ed and the entire Long family,” the statement said, Long, who never publicly discussed the nature of his illness, died from an agressive form of cancer, the church said.

King, the daughter of civil rights leaders the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, once served in New Birth under Long.

“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,” King said in the statement. “During these devastating moments in my life, he was there for me and my family in many ways and I will forever be grateful.”

Information about services has not been released.

First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, Bishop Long’s wife of 27 years, said in an earlier statement that she was “confidant 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.”

He is survived by his wife, four children Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor and three grandchildren.”

Greif counselors were on hand at the church Sunday to help members deal with the loss of their pastor.

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