Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, died early Thursday morning, just after midnight, according to USA Today. He was 84 years old.
His daughter, Margie Phelps, confirmed the news but did not give a cause of death — just that he was in hospice care at the time.
Fred was famous for leading protests against the homosexual community as well as against Jews from his hometown (and Westboro headquarters) of Topeka, Kansas. Most notably, Fred was responsible for The Westboro Baptist Church as a whole has been known for spreading their anti-gay, anti-Semitic messages via whatever desperate measures were necessary, often employing fear tactics to get their traditionally ridiculous points across.
Fred and his followers also tended to crop up at the funerals of public figures and celebrities alike — they (and their picket signs) showed up at the funerals of people like Frank Sinatra, Fred Rogers and Coretta Scott King. Although he was tried for his ludicrous acts that drew public outrage, Fred was always protected in the courts as he was simply exercising free speech.
What does Hollywood think of Fred’s passing? See reactions from stars below:
Source: USA Today