Who is Bishop Eddie Long?

Eddie Long, bishop of Atlanta’s New Missionary Baptist Church, died early Sunday morning after a lengthy fight with an aggressive form of cancer. His death was a tragic loss to the many people whose lives were affected by his work in the church.

Who was Bishop Eddie Long?

Eddie Long was the bishop of New Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. He became pastor of the church in 1987, when it had only 300 members. As of 2010, it had grown to more than 25,000.

The church's growth was immensely profitable to Long personally. According to a 2005 AJC investigation, Long earned at least $3.07 million in salary, benefits and use of property between 1997 and 2000 -- nearly as much as it gave to all other recipients combined during those years, according to the tax records.

He told the AJC then that his compensation was based on the scale of his work.

“We're not just a church, we're an international corporation,” Long said. “We're not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can't talk and all we're doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around this world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation.

“You've got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that's supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering.”

Long was also known for his spiritual and charitable work. As exemplified by the outpouring of grief from Atlantans after his death, his ministry was prominent and extremely well-known in Atlanta.

How did Eddie Long die?

According to a press release, Long died from “an aggressive form of cancer.”

Was Bishop Eddie Long’s death related to him losing weight?

The exact details of his medical issues have not been released. However, in recent months Long appeared to have lost a significant amount of weight, even looking gaunt. At the time, he attributed it to eating a better diet. Last September, he told the public he was suffering from an unspecified "health challenge." In October 2016, he said that God had healed him. You can see his weight changes in our gallery of him over the years.

How old was Bishop Eddie Long when he died?

Long was 63.

Did Eddie Long have family?

Long was survived by his wife of 27 years, Vanessa. He had four children: Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor. He also had three grandchildren, which the church’s release does not name. 

Vanessa Long, first lady elder of New Missionary, told the church, “I am confident 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.”

When will Bishop Eddie Long’s funeral be held?

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 25 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 6400 Woodrow Rd. in Lithonia.

Long will lie in-repose from 8 a.m. until the service begins.

Live stream: An online live stream of the funeral is planned

Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Jan. 24, at the church, according to Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory, which is in charge of arrangements.

The family requests that any floral arrangements be in white or off-white.

Where is the Bishop Eddie Long obituary?

You can read Eddie Long's obituary here. You can also write condolences in his guest book.