Tammy Faye Messner, 65, dies after long battle with cancer

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Evangelist Tammy Faye Messner has passed away at age 65 from complications from colon cancer. The announcement came during Larry King Live on Saturday evening. Messner is reported to have died at her home in Kansas City, Missouri. Her family states that she passed "peacefully."

Messner was an American Christian singer, evangelist, entrepreneur, author, talk show host, and television personality who was born on March 7, 1942. She was the co-host of The PTL Club from 1976 to 1987, and appeared on The Surreal Life, Season 2. In May, she announced that she was suffering from cancer, and was under hospice care.

She had been married twice. Her first husband, Jim Bakker, an American televangelist and a former Assemblies of God minister and host of The PTL Club, was imprisoned in 1989 on federal charges of fraud, tax evasion, and racketeering. They divorced in 1992 after 30 years together.

In 1993 she married Roe Messner, who had led the building of the Bakker's theme park in South Carolina. In 1995 he was also jailed after being convicted of bankruptcy fraud.

Messner always hoped that one day doctors would find a cure for her cancer, and was optimistic that they would saying "don't let fear rule your life. Live one day at a time, and never be afraid. I believe when I leave this earth, because I love the Lord, I'm going straight to heaven. I don't think about it, Larry, because it's a waste of good brain space."

There was a ceremony immediately following her death on Friday, in which her ashes were spread at a private cemetery and Faye's website, www.tammyfaye.com has been taken off-line simply saying "service unavailable."