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Rapture predictor Camping reportedly suffers stroke

/ Source: msnbc.com news services

Harold Camping, the radio preacher who incorrectly predicted that the Rapture would happen last month, has reportedly been hospitalized after suffering a stroke.

According to the Oakland Tribune, a neighbor said the 89-year-old president of the Oakland nonprofit Family Radio network was taken by ambulance from his home on Thursday night.

"He had a stroke, it was on his right side," said the neighbor, who declined to give her name.

Charles Menut, the regional manager for Family Stations Inc., Family Radio's parent company, alerted supporters via a message he posted to a Yahoo group, according to the Oakland Tribune.

"Please just pray for him and do not try to contact anyone at his home or Family Radio," Menut wrote. "He and Shirley have enough family members to handle the situation. I'm sure we'll be able to publicly update everyone on Monday."

Camping sparked a frenzy among his followers when he prophesied that the world would come to an end on May 21.

The prediction gained traction in part due to Camping's considerable wealth. According to the Oakland Tribune, Family Radio spent more than $100 million over the past seven years publicizing the Rapture.

A volunteer from the U.S. religious group Family Radio, a Christian radio network, hands out pamphlets with warnings of an impending Judgment Day at Times Square in New York May 13, 2011. The designation of May 21came from Family Radio president Harold Camping, who predicted that date through a series of mathematical calculations and the unraveling of codes behind the Bible story of the great flood. SHANNON STAPLETON / X90052

In addition, the fundamentalist preacher's followers donated millions of dollars to to the cause, and in the days before the advertised date, volunteers gathered across the nation to spread the message.

As the calendar closed in on the date, supporters' views divided families and sent the Internet into a tizzy. But in the end, the whole affair fizzled when everyone remained firmly affixed to this Earth.

Camping told the San Francisco Chronicle he was "flabbergated" that the Rapture failed to materialize. He reportedly described the no-show as a "really tough weekend."

Camping has since offered October 21 as a new date for the Rapture.