“This will be one of the last times you’ll see me like this,” Bishop Carlton D. Pearson said to his followers on a live broadcast after revealing that he is living out his final days. “I may be closing some things out, but I will never close you out in consciousness. I love you and wanted you to hear from my voice how deeply appreciative I am of who you are and that you are.”
The statement came after an announcement that Pearson’s longtime battle with cancer had become fatal. Doctors found a Stage 4 cancerous mass that has been deemed “inoperable and fatal,” according to Pearson’s family.
Pearson’s family issued the following statement: “Our dear Carlton was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and was declared cancer-free shortly thereafter. Just recently, cancer has returned and has been a significant challenge, especially in the last 120 days—Carlton has asked that people pray that he would live out the “full number of his days.”
Pearson frequently updated his followers on Facebook Live about his battle with cancer but stopped because of the news surrounding his fatal cancer. Pearson’s last speaking appearance was on Oct. 10th, giving a final goodbye and an update on the show’s new direction following his passing.
“We have to grow. We have to keep on growing because that’s what we’re called to do.”
Pearson—a one-time protegé of Oral Roberts— skyrocketed to fame in the 1980s with one of the most-watched TV programs on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and as pastor of 5,000-member strong Higher Dimensions Family Church, one of the largest churches in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His Azuza Conferences drew some of the biggest names in Christendom and gospel music, attracting thousands. In 2018, Netflix released a biopic called, “Come Sunday,” exploring Pearson’s life.
The pioneering televangelist’s frank and often controversial opinions on different subjects have earned him appearances on television programs such as NBC and MSNBC’s Dateline, ABC’s Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America, and CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.
His popularity, however, began to fade in 2004, when he rejected the existence of Hell and was deemed heretical by the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops. Membership in the church dropped to under 1,000, and by 2006, the building was foreclosed on.
Pearson would go on to become an affiliate minister with All Souls Unitarian Church.