Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps dead

Westboro Baptist Church founder and former leader Fred Phelps protesting with anti-gay slurs. File photo
Westboro Baptist Church founder and former leader Fred Phelps protesting with anti-gay slurs. File photo

Fred Phelps Sr., the former head of the Westboro Baptist Church, died late Wednesday night, according to numerous reports.

A family member confirmed to WIBW that Phelps, 84, died just before midnight.

Phelps founded the fundamentalist church, which is known for picketing military funerals and political events with anti-gay signs.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, has called the church “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America.”

In a statement on his Facebook page earlier this week, Nathan Phelps, who has been estranged from his father for 30 years, said the senior Phelps was dying in hospice care in Topeka, Kansas, and that he had been ex-communicated from his own church in August 2013.

The cause of death is unknown.

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