Crystal Cathedral founder and former televangelist the Rev. Robert H. Schuller has been diagnosed with cancer, according to a family statement posted online.
Daughter Sheila Schuller Coleman said during a recent sermon that Schuller, 86, is undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes. The diagnosis was also disclosed in a statement that was available Wednesday at the website of Schuller Coleman's new church, the Hope Center of Christ.
Oncologists initially said that the televangelist had three months to live, but then said he could live for two years with radiation and chemotherapy. The elder Schuller decided to pursue the treatment after praying with his wife, Arvella, and other family members, the statement said.
Schuller, who started the popular "Hour of Power" broadcast and built Orange County's Crystal Cathedral, was hospitalized in July after a fall at his home but later released after a battery of tests to determine the cause of a high lactic acid count.
Schuller began preaching in 1955 from the top of a drive-in movie theater concession stand in Orange County and by 1970 had launched a TV ministry with the "Hour of Power." He built the landmark cathedral in 1980.
At its peak, the broadcast attracted 20 million viewers around the world but in recent years, Schuller's ministry was hamstrung by a disastrous leadership transition and a decline in viewership and donations. The once-popular televangelist resigned from the church's board in 2012, two years after the ministry filed for bankruptcy.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange bought the cathedral in bankruptcy proceedings and renamed the building Christ Cathedral.
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