A prominent evangelical Christian author and pastor, the Rev. Timothy Keller, passed away on Friday at the age of 72 following a battle with pancreatic cancer for several years, Breitbart reported.
Keller, whose life and work were focused on spreading the gospel, was the founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and he is also created with helping to establish a network of churches around the world.
In a post on Thursday to Keller's Twitter account, his son Michael shared that his father had been "discharged from the hospital to receive hospice care at home" and that he had expressed "through prayer his desire to go home to be with Jesus."
The son added that his father had recently said, "I'm thankful for all the people who’ve prayed for me over the years. I'm thankful for my family, that loves me. I’m thankful for the time God has given me, but I’m ready to see Jesus. I can't wait to see Jesus. Send me home."
Less than 24 hours later, Michael Keller tweeted from his father's account, "Timothy J. Keller, husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend, pastor, and scholar died this morning at home. Dad waited until he was alone with Mom. She kissed him on the forehead and he breathed his last breath."
He added, "We take comfort in some of his last words ... 'There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest.' See you soon Dad."
Fox News reported that Bruce Terrell, a member of the Redeemer Network Leadership Team said in a statement on Friday, "It is with a heavy heart that I write today to inform you that Redeemer Presbyterian Church founder and long-time senior pastor, Tim Keller, passed away this morning at age 72, trusting in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection."
"We are forever grateful for his leadership, heart, and dedication to sharing the love of Christ with others," Terrell added. "While we will miss his presence here, we know he is rejoicing with his Savior in heaven."
Fox News noted that Keller, who had previously survived a diagnosis of thyroid cancer in 2002, had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in May 2020 and had endured two years of chemotherapy.
He had also participated earlier this year in a special immunotherapy clinical trial but, unfortunately, none of the treatments had been completely successful as new cancerous tumors had been discovered in March.
In addition to founding the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and the related Redeemer network, Keller had also co-founded an organization known as The Gospel Coalition, of which interim president Sandy Willson said of Keller, "Today the Christian world is in mourning, for one of our great leaders has departed this life."
"Tim Keller was a once-in-a-century sort of person. There is no pastor I know, in the last 100 years, who did what Tim Keller did to take the Reformed faith to the street, to the church, and to the academy," he continued. "He will be remembered among this generation’s most effective Christian pastors, apologists, and evangelists. Tim not only made the most articulate arguments for the Christian faith; he also demonstrated our faith with his humble and gracious spirit and his relentless passion to see the lost come to know the Lord he so loved."
"He planted the most amazing church New York City may ever have seen, he planted thousands of other churches globally through Redeemer City to City, he co-founded The Gospel Coalition, and he inspired an entire generation to love and serve the Lord," Willson added. "We all grieve for Kathy and the dear Keller family. And we all rejoice for the unmitigated delight that is now Tim’s, as he looks upon the beautiful face of his Savior, whom he has faithfully served."
Keller also founded Gospel in Life, a resource center for all of his works, which announced that a lifestream memorial service for Keller would soon be held as well as that arrangements had been made for the organization to "honor his ministry by continuing to spread the gospel through his teachings, books and other resources as God leads in the days ahead."