LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Temitope Balogun Joshua, one of Africa’s most popular televangelists who was known as T.B. Joshua, has died. He was 57.
The Nigerian-born pastor was founder of the mega church Synagogue Church Of All Nations, or SCOAN, which also runs the Emmanuel Television Station in Lagos.
The church announced his death in a statement Sunday. No cause of death was given.
“God has taken His servant Prophet T.B Joshua home — as it should be by divine will,” the church said, adding that “his last moments on earth were spent in the service of God. This is what he was born for, lived for and died for.”
T.B. Joshua was noted for making predictions and for his claims to cure various ailments and to make people prosper through miracles. He was, however, controversial, with critics questioning his claims and saying he profited off of people seeking hope.
More than 15,000 people from Nigeria and abroad attend SCOAN’s Sunday services.
Many African presidents, senior government officials, international soccer players, musicians and other high-profile guests have worshipped in the church. He was popular in many African countries, and in South America where he had held many religious crusades.
In September 2014, the guest house of the church collapsed, killing more than 100 people, most of them foreigners who were in Nigeria to attend his services.
While authorities say the building collapsed because of structural defects, T.B. Joshua insisted the building was blown up by a small plane that he claimed flew over it shortly before it came down.
Joshua is survived by his widow and three children.
SAM OLUKOYA I Associated Press