Children Confirm Fred Phelps Dead At 84

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Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps died before midnight Wednesday at age 84, his children Tim Phelps and Shirley Phelps-Roper confirmed to Kansas news outlets.

Phelps’s estranged son Nate had announced last weekend that the church founder was gravely ill in Midland Care Hospice in Topeka. Another of Phelp’s children, attorney Jonathan Phelps, told WIBW Thursday morning that his father was “doing just fine,” which could be just a spiritual reference.

He also said church members excommunicated Phelps from the organization, best known for its anti-gay slogan and for protesting military funerals, in August 2013. The Topeka Capitol-Journal later reported that Nate said his father was ousted for encouraging church members to be “kinder” to one another after the creation of an all-male board of elders led to a power struggle within its ranks. A spokesman for the church declined to discuss the matter.

This post has been updated.

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