Christian evangelist Ravi Zacharias, who built an international ministry with a zealous, intellectual defense of his faith, died following a brief bout with sarcoma, loved ones said Tuesday.
The founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries was 74 when he died on Thursday at his home in Atlanta.
RZIM President Michael Ramsden said Zacharias always welcomed any voice who questioned Christianity.
″[Ravi] saw the objections and questions of others not as something to be rebuffed, but as a cry of the heart that had to be answered,” Ramsden said in a statement.
“People weren’t logical problems waiting to be solved; they were people who needed the person of Christ. Those who knew him well will remember him first for his kindness, gentleness, and generosity of spirit. The love and kindness he had come to know in and through Jesus Christ was the same love he wanted to share with all he met.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he was saddened by Zacharias' death and praised the minister's life calling.
"He was a faithful servant who made an incredible impact on our world," Kemp said in a statement. "Praying for peace and comfort for his loved ones during this difficult time."
Zacharias is survived by his wife of 48 years, two daughters, a son and five grandchildren.
“It was his Savior, Jesus Christ, that my dad always wanted most to talk about,” daughter and ministry CEO Sarah Zacharias Davis said in a statement. “Even in his final days, until he lacked the energy and breath to speak, he turned every conversation to Jesus and what the Lord had done. "
Zacharias has said he was 17 and living in India when he tried killing himself with poison before finding peace and his life's calling in scripture.
"He perpetually marveled that God took a 17-year-old skeptic, defeated in hopelessness and unbelief, and called him into a life of glorious hope and belief in the truth of Scripture—a message he would carry across the globe for 48 years," Davis said of her late father.