CAROL STREAM, ILL. (July 25, 2016)—Dr. Tim LaHaye, prominent evangelical leader, respected pastor, and international bestselling author, passed away early today in a San Diego hospital after suffering a stroke. Dr. LaHaye, who was 90 years old, is most noted for the bestselling book series Left Behind, which he coauthored with Jerry B. Jenkins. The 16-book series was published by Tyndale House Publishers (@tyndalehouse), topped multiple bestseller lists, and has sold more than 80 million copies, making it one of the bestselling series of books in history. A prolific writer, LaHaye authored 60 different titles that sold 14 million copies in as many as 32 languages.
Said Mark D. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Tyndale House Publishers, “Tim LaHaye’s history as a published author is intertwined with the entire history of Tyndale House. His first book, Spirit-Controlled Temperament, was published 50 years ago in 1966. It was the very first book published by Tyndale House apart from the Living series of Bible paraphrases. And Tyndale’s highest-selling series of trade titles has been the Left Behind series, coauthored by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Tim was a wonderful Bible teacher and pastor and an inspiration for our entire industry. We will miss him.”
The Left Behind series began in 1995 with the release of Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days. Seven titles in the adult series reached #1 on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly. The series ended with a three-book prequel, the last of which was published in 2006.
A full statement from Tim LaHaye ministries follows:
SAN DIEGO, Calif.—Dr. Tim F. LaHaye, the son of a Detroit autoworker who grew up to become a respected pastor, international bestseller, and prominent evangelical leader, died July 25, 2016 in a San Diego area hospital, just days after suffering a stroke. Born in Detroit, Michigan on April 27, 1926, he was 90 years old.
Dr. LaHaye, an Air Force veteran, is perhaps most noted for his blockbuster bestselling book series, Left Behind, which he coauthored with Jerry B. Jenkins.
“Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul I don’t expect to fill until I see him again,” Jenkins said of his coauthor’s passing.
Over seven decades Dr. LaHaye influenced others from the pulpit, in books, in the political arena, and at home.
Jenkins said that Dr. LaHaye had become a “spiritual giant” to him.
“The Tim LaHaye I got to know had a pastor’s heart and lived to share his faith,” Jenkins said. “He listened to and cared about everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social standing. If Tim was missing from the autograph table or the green room of a network television show, he was likely in a corner praying with someone he’d just met—from a reader to a part-time bookstore stock clerk to a TV network anchorman.”
Joining Dr. LaHaye for most of his journey was the former Beverly Ratcliffe, whom he married on July 5, 1947. Mrs. LaHaye—a powerhouse in her own right—founded Concerned Women for America in 1979, the nation’s largest public policy organization for women with 600,000 members.
Their union prompted Time magazine in 2005 to name the LaHayes “the Christian Power Couple.” The proclamation came as the magazine named Dr. LaHaye as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.
Early in his ministerial career, Dr. LaHaye pastored churches in South Carolina and Minnesota before moving his family to California. They settled in San Diego County, where he took the reins of Scott Memorial Baptist Church. Under his 25-year leadership, the congregation expanded to three locations, including what is now Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon.
During the 1970s Dr. LaHaye was instrumental in gathering a coalition of Southern California pastors together to address a progressive agenda that was undermining traditional family values. Also in the ’70s he encouraged the late Jerry Falwell Sr. to establish the Moral Majority as a way to build a similar coalition nationally. He was also widely credited with garnering evangelical support behind the campaign of George W. Bush.
Besides coauthoring the 16-book Left Behind series—which sold more than 80 million copies, topping the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and the Christian Booksellers Association—LaHaye was a prolific nonfiction author, penning 60 different titles that sold 14 million copies in as many as 32 languages. Topics he explored included family life, temperaments, the biblical view of sex and marriage, Bible prophecy, the will of God, Jesus Christ, and secular humanism.
Other ministries he either founded or cofounded include Tim LaHaye Ministries, the Pre-Trib Research Center, and the Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy at Liberty University. He also designed the LaHaye Temperament Analysis, a self-improvement tool that has been used by more than 30,000 people.
Along with his wife, Dr. LaHaye was a generous benefactor, donating millions to numerous religious institutions, including Liberty University and San Diego Christian College.
Tyndale House Publishers, founded in 1962, is the world’s largest privately held Christian publisher of books, Bibles, and digital media. Tyndale has published many New York Times bestsellers. The largest portion of its profit goes to the nonprofit Tyndale House Foundation, which makes grants to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world. Tyndale was founded to publish Living Letters, which later comprised part of The Living Bible, a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible that became a global publishing phenomenon. Tyndale now publishes the Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT), the translation of choice for millions of people.