House Representative Mike Reese
On January 2, House Representative Mike Reese died of a brain aneurysm at 42 years old. Reese was first elected as a representative of Pennsylvania in 2008. He was re-elected on November 3, 2020, but perished before serving out his term in office. From 2019-2020, Reese served as caucus secretary of the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus.
House Representative Ron Wright
On February 7, Representative Ron Wright of Texas died of Coronavirus at the age of 67. Wright had been battling lung cancer for several months before he contracted and eventually succumbed to COVID-19. While in public office, Wright received several awards for his civil leadership, including Volunteer of the Year, Man of the Year for Community Service and Hero of the Homeless.
Senator Bob Dole
On December 5, at the age of 98, World War II veteran, Kansas Senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole passed away in his sleep. Dole was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in early 2021. Dole began serving in public office following his time fighting in WWII. He was first elected as a House Representative to Kansas in 1960. In 1975, he would serve as a U.S. Senator. While in office, he supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act and the Veterans Health Care Administrative Flexibility Act, among others.
Dole also ran for president three times, in 1980, 1988, and 1996, but never won.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell
On October 18, Colin Powell, a political trailblazer who served in multiple Republican presidential administrations and was a military official, died from health complications. He was 84.
Powell served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush and as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and for the first few months under President Bill Clinton. Under President Ronald Reagan, he was deputy national security advisor.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale
Former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away on April 19, at the age of 93.
Mondale served as Vice President under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. As vice president, Mondale attempted to establish peace in the Middle East, aided in the ratification of the Panama Canal treaty, helped resettle Vietnam War refugees, and offered support for affirmative action. The cause of his death was undisclosed.
Reverend Frederick K.C. Price
On February 12, Reverend Fredrick K.C. Price passed away after contracting COVID-19. He was 89. During his life, Price founded the Crenshaw Christian Center, a megachurch in Los Angeles. The church, which started with just 300 members in 1973, grew to have more than 28,000-members. Price retired from the church in 2017, passing the ministry down to his son, Rev. Fred Price, Jr.
Controversial conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh died on February 17 after battling lung cancer for some time. He was 70. Limbaugh’s longstanding and popular daytime radio show, The Rush Limbaugh Show, debuted nationally in 1988 and helped make AM radio a profitable medium. Limbaugh, who was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump in 2020, has also written several books and even hosted his own television show in the 1990s. Limbaugh was a professed Christian and one of the loudest voices in conservative talk radio. He is a member of the Radio Hall of Fame.
Renowned evangelist Luis Palau passed away on March 11 after battling lung cancer for three years. He was 86.
For more than five decades, Palau, through his Luis Palau Association, worked to share the Gospel in at least 75 countries. Palau, who ministered in both English and Spanish, is also the author of dozens of books and was often referred to as “the Latino Billy Graham.” According to Religion News Service, at least 30 million people were introduced to Christ and the Gospel during his years in ministry.
Photo courtesy: PA Government/Public Domain
On April 9, Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, passed away. He was 99 years old. Philip was born as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921. At 18, he joined the Navy and served in World War II. He later married Queen Elizabeth before her ascension to the throne.
Philip was an advocate for environmental protection. From 1961 to 1982, he served as the first president of the World Wildlife Fund. He later held the international president and president emeritus roles within the organization.
Philip also chaired the judging panel for The Prince Philip Designers Prize for more than 50 years. Designers and engineers could win the prize by exhibiting exceptional innovation in their field. The Duke of Edinburgh Award, which honors youth achievement, was also named for Philip.
He and The Queen have four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Controversial megachurch pastor T.B. Joshua died on June 5 in his apartment after experiencing some discomfort. His cause of death was not disclosed.
Known by his followers as 'The Prophet,' Joshua gained a following in the late 1990s as a prosperity Gospel preacher.
Joshua was listed by Forbes as the third-richest pastor in Nigeria in 2011. At the time, his estimated net worth was between $10-$15 million.
Joshua faced many controversies throughout his career, including being shut down by YouTube for claiming he could cure church congregants of their same-sex attraction and sending around 4,000 bottles of his anointing water to those battling the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia. Joshua’s followers claimed the water could work miracles.
Former Casting Crowns drummer Andy Williams, 49, passed away on July 9 after being hospitalized for injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident. Williams was reportedly riding his motorcycle to church one July morning when he was struck by a vehicle. He suffered severe trauma to his brain and body.
Williams was a member of the Christian rock band from 2001 to 2009. He left the band to start a new band with his wife, Kelly.
The father of Contemporary Christian Music, Ralph Carmichael, died on October 20. He was 94.
In the 1960s, Carmichael began making faith-based music that possessed modern musical elements. This type of music would later be termed "Contemporary Christian Music."
During his life, Carmichael composed over 300 gospel songs, including "The Savior Is Waiting," "There Is a Quiet Place," "Reach Out to Jesus" and "He's Everything to Me." He also started his own record label, Light Records, and music publishing group, Lexicon Music Publishing, in 1968. Carmichael, who later served as the president of the Gospel Music Association, sought to promote up-and-coming Christian artists through his companies.
Ministry leader and Daystar Television Network founder Marcus Lamb died from COVID-19 on November 30. He was 64 years old.
At age 15, Lamb began his ministry journey by preaching as an evangelist. After graduating from Lee University in Cleveland at 19, Lamb would launch his first ministry, Word of God Fellowship, in 1981.
By 1985, Lamb founded a Montgomery-based Christian television station called WMCF-TV, “45 Alive,” a full-power television station. WMCF-TV was Alabama’s first Christian television station.
Then, in 1990, Lamb would move to Dallas, Texas, to start KMPX-TV 29, or TV 29, which would also become a full-power station in 1993. Daystar Television was born four years later.
Lamb was often called the “Walking Bible” because of his immense knowledge of Scripture.
Pastor David Yonggi Cho
On September 14, Pastor David Yonggi Cho, the founder of the world’s largest megachurch, died. He was 85. His church, Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, announced in a press release that at the time of his death, Cho had been receiving medical treatment for a brain hemorrhage he suffered in 2020.
Born to a Buddhist family in 1936, Cho would convert to Christianity at 17 after doctors said he was dying from tuberculosis. According to Cho, God delivered him from the disease, healing him miraculously.
In the 1950s, Cho would enroll in Full Gospel College with the hope of pursuing ministry. After graduating from the school in 1956, Cho would plant a tent church in Seoul that eventually became Yoido Full Gospel Church. Yoido Full Gospel Church is now the largest megachurch in the world, with over 750,000 members and more than 500 locations across South Korea.
Dr. Melvin Banks
On February 13, Dr. Melvin Banks Sr., the owner of Urban Ministries, Inc., the largest Black-owned and operated independent publishing company in the United States, passed away at 86. Banks, who attended Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College, was known for teaching about historical people groups in the Bible. In an effort to fight back against the whitewashing of history, Banks often called to attention what the real-life physical features, including skin tones, of Biblical figures would have looked like.
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Rapper and musician DMX, or Earl Simmons, died on April 9 after being placed on life support following a heart attack. He was 50. After enjoying a long and successful music career, in 2012, Simmons announced that he was entering into ministry. He soon became a transitional deacon in a Christian church but hoped to become a full-time pastor one day. During the pandemic, Simmons also hosted a series of bible studies on his Instagram account where thousands would tune in to hear about Jesus.
It is unclear what caused Simmons’ heart attack, though some outlets speculated that it was caused by a drug overdose.
Evangelist Stephen Lungu
On January 18, African Evangelist Stephen Lungu passed away from COVID-19. Lungu, who was at risk of death from COVID-19 because of his diabetes, was 78.
Lungu grew up on the streets of Zimbabwe, where he became involved with a gang. He once testified that he came to Christ after abandoning an attack he and fellow gang members planned to carry out on evangelicals meeting in Harare. After hearing the pastor at the site of the attack preach, Lungu said he decided to give his life to Christ.
Lungu would go on to receive mentorship from author and British missionary Patrick Johnstone before becoming an evangelist himself. During his life, Lungu, often referred to as “the Billy Graham of Africa,” would work with Dorothea Mission and African Enterprise in an effort to share the Gospel with the world.
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