Fred Phelps Sr. passed away shortly before midnight on Wednesday. Phelps was the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, the congregation in Topeka that gained fame and criticism for picketing at the funerals of military veterans and having extremely strong beliefs against homosexuality and abortion.
Phelps died at Midland Care Hospice in Topeka after spending several days there with unspecified health problems. The cause of death is not yet known.
The Westboro Baptist Church was formed in 1955 and began picketing at military funerals in 1991.
Shortly before his death, Phelps had reportedly been excommunicated from the church after what was described by a son as "falling out." The Westboro Church refused to confirm the excommunication.
No funeral service is planned.
Phelps is survived by a large family, many of whom attend Westboro Baptist Church.