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Religious and political leaders across the globe on Tuesday continued to mourn Myles Munroe, the evangelical pastor and motivational speaker with a devoted following who was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas Sunday.
Munroe, 60, founder and president of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, died along with his wife, Ruth, co-pastor Richard Pinder and six other people when the small plane they were flying in struck a shipping crane on approach to landing in stormy weather Sunday night at Grand Bahama International Airport, the ministry and Bahamian authorities said.
Prime Minister Perry Christie called Munroe "indisputably one of the most globally recognizable religious figures our nation has ever produced." In a briefing with reporters Tuesday, he said, "I ask myself why would God take the life of someone who was one of his angels, one his disciples, one of his apostles."
An investigator with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board was arriving Tuesday to assist in the inquiry, the government said.
Munroe frequently appeared before mass audiences at Christian events with other famous preachers, like Bishop T.D. Jakes and Morris Cerullo. He wrote or co-wrote more than 100 inspirational and motivational books, many of which were best-sellers in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Joshua DuBois, former director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the Obama administration, called Munroe a "great man of God" and said word of his death was "devastating news."
Munroe was a vigorous proponent of self-sufficiency in Christian communities in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, and he devoted several of his books to promoting Western investment and economic development in the world's poorest nations.
But while he was beloved my millions, he was also a controversial figure in his native Bahamas, where he clashed in March with the country's foreign minister, Fred Mitchell, after Mitchell outlined the Bahamas' protections for gay and lesbian rights during a speech in Trinidad and Tobago. Munroe called on Christie to fire his foreign minister, saying Mitchell's views didn't "represent the majority of the convictions of the Bahamian people," The Tribune national newspaper reported at the time.
Sunday, a conciliatory Mitchell called Munroe "a giant of a Bahamian" and said he was "deeply saddened by his death," The Nassau Guardian newspaper reported.
In January, at the annual world conference organized by Cerullo, a prominent Pentecostal leader, Munroe talked at length about death and dying. He said the greatest goal of anyone was to "secure your legacy and pass it on. ... Live in such a way that you wouldn't need a tombstone."
Cerullo's ministry posted Munroe's sermon on YouTube: