Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr., the founder of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, is in poor health in a Kansas hospice and was excommunicated from his own church last year.
Phelps’ son, Nathan “Nate” Phelps, who left the church in 1980 and now works for an LGBT advocacy group, posted to Facebook Saturday night that his father is dying.
“I've learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the ‘God Hates Fags’ Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the ‘church’ back in August of 2013,” Nate wrote. “He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.”
“I'm not sure how I feel about this,” he added. “Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made. I feel sad for all the hurt he's caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I'm bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.”
The pastor’s brother, Mark Phelps, who is also estranged from the WBC, confirmed the information Sunday.
"Just a quick note to assure you the information you wrote and published this morning is accurate," Mark Phelps emailed to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
A spokesman for the WBC, Steve Drain, confirmed Sunday that Pastor Fred Phelps is a patient at the Midland Care Hospice in Topeka, but said he hasn’t been there long and he’s not “near death.”
Drain would not say what Phelps is suffering from, only that, "He has a couple things going on.”
Phelps began the church in 1955 and worked as a civil rights attorney until he was disbarred by the Kansas Supreme Court in 1979. WBC is renowned for picketing the funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers and carrying placards reading “God Hates Fags.”