Sun Myung Moon, the founder and head of the Unification Church which has millions of followers around the world, died at a retreat near the South Korean capital Seoul, church officials said.
Moon was 92 and had suffered complications from pneumonia, the officials said. Moon had been hospitalised in Seoul in mid-August and was moved to the retreat last week when his family and church believed there was little chance of recovery.
Moon had led an active public life until recently, officiating a mass wedding for 2,500 in March and leading a service of more than 15,000 followers in July.
The church said he had fallen gravely ill in early August after a lingering bout of cold and exhaustion that began in July. Moon is survived by his wife - the pair is called true parents by followers - and 10 of their 13 children.
Born in what is now North Korea in 1920, Moon founded the church soon after the Korean War that ended in 1953, rapidly expanding the ministry internationally and building a business at the same time that served as the backbone of the empire.
The Unification Church runs the Segye Times newspaper in South Korea and more than a dozen other firms in South Korea along with overseas businesses.
In the early eighties when most of South America was under military rule, Moon established close contacts with many of the regional governments. He is known to still have vast interests in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Critics of the church have for years vilified the organisation as a heretical and dangerous cult and questioned its murky finances and how it indoctrinates followers, described in derogatory terms as Moonies.
Moon has handed over day-to-day operations of the church, which has its headquarters in Seoul, to one of his sons and the management of the Tongil Group with interests in construction, resorts, travel agencies and a newspaper to another son.
Moon, whose group runs the conservative Washington Times publication and is known as a strident anti-communist, visited North Korea in 1991 and met the reclusive state's founder Kim Il-sung to discuss business ventures and unification.
South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North, criticised the visit.
Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!
What an unsavory charlatan he was. And this death should be a final proof that his doctrine was false; wasn't he supposed to fulfill the role of messiah (that he alleged Jesus tried and failed to do!) within his lifetime? Maybe we should wait 3 days and seeif he rises, but I doubt it! Intersting company for so many conservatives to keep....Sep 03rd, 2012 - 12:24 pm 0
During the time of the Koreagate” scandal in 1976-1977, the Fraser Committee found that the National Intelligence Service of South Korea (KCIA), had, among other things, been using the Unification Church as a political tool in its various anti-communist activities. The KCIA's general goal was to influence the domestic and foreign politics and policies of the United States. Eighty-one pages of the 447-page Fraser Report (pages 311-392) deals specifically with the Moon organization. The term KCIA occurs sixty-eight times within those eighty-one pages.” Source:Sep 08th, 2012 - 04:14 pm 0
Please also see: