Pat Robertson, the conservative evangelist and media mogul who galvanized the modern Christian right, cultivated a massive national following and regularly drew criticism for his incendiary political statements, died Thursday, according to his official broadcasting network.
He was 93.
The Christian Broadcasting Network, the organization he founded, did not immediately announce Robertson’s cause of death. “Pat Robertson dedicated his life to preaching the Gospel, helping those in need, and educating the next generation,” the company said.
He was one of the most prominent and influential Christian broadcasters and entrepreneurs in the United States — equal parts religious leader and culture warrior.
He was one of the driving forces of a movement to increase the influence of the religious right in US politics.
He founded the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in 1960 and helped grow it into a cable media empire.
For decades, Robertson hosted a CBN talk show called the 700 Club that combined religious news and political commentary with light entertainment.
CBN announced the news of his death on Thursday. No cause was given.
Robertson also founded the Christian Coalition, the organisation that grew to be a pivotal player in Republican politics starting in the 1980s.
It provided endorsements and financial and organisational support to candidates who echoed their views on hot-button social issues like abortion, religious liberty and “traditional” values.
In 1988, Robertson campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination.
He finished second in the Iowa caucuses behind Kansas Senator Robert Dole, with the the support of the state’s large evangelical community.
Robertson’s White House run faltered after eventual nominee and president George HW Bush won the New Hampshire primary.
Despite the defeat, Robertson’s campaign – he came top in four state-nominating contests – demonstrated that evangelical Christians were a growing force in Republican politics. The evangelical leader would go on to become a kingmaker in Republican politics for decades