Eddie Long, megachurch pastor embroiled in scandal, dies at 63

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Bishop Eddie Long gives a sermon where he addressed sex scandal allegations at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church September 26, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Bishop Eddie Long, the pastor of a Georgia megachurch was accused of luring young men into sexual relationships, has told his congregation of thousands that he denies all the allegations and that all people must face painful and distasteful situations. (Photo by John Amis-Pool/Getty Images)

LITHONIA, Ga. — Eddie Long, the pastor of a Georgia megachurch whose reputation was tarnished after former congregants accused him of sexual misconduct, has died. He was 63.

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church said in a statement to multiple media outlets that Long died Sunday after battling cancer.

Long has been senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist since 1987. The church said it grew from 300 members to more than 25,000 under Long’s leadership and became one of the nation’s largest congregations.

Four young men filed lawsuits in 2010 accusing him of sexual misconduct, bringing notoriety to his church that reached far beyond its home base in Lithonia, Georgia. The lawsuits were resolved the following year.

He’s survived by his wife, Vanessa Long, four children and three grandchildren.

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