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Fred Phelps dead: Excommunicated Westboro Baptist Church founder dies at 84

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Fred Phelps dead at age 84. The excommunicated founder of the Westboro Baptist Church has died in hospice in Kansas. According to Reuters on Mar. 20, hate group's leader was dying in hospice since 2013.

Phelps, whose Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, won a 2011 freedom-of-speech U.S. Supreme Court decision related to their anti-gay picketing, died late Wednesday in a Kansas hospice

Fred Phelps dead yielded only a brief message via blog post from the church he founded in the 1950s, "People die - that is the way of all flesh." The church could not confirm his 2013 excommunication, but his son Nathan mentioned it in a Facebook posting. The church called this issue "private."

Phelps was a disbarred lawyer and former civil rights activist. He even ran for U.S. Senator in 1992. He opened Westboro Baptists Church in 1955 in Topeka, Kansas. Their protest activities started in 1991, always targeting "the modern militant homosexual movement," and blaming it for a long list of perceived ills and maladies.

His wife, Margie M. Simms, and at least five known children survive him. In addition to son Nathan, Phelps also had Fred Phelps, Jr. His three known surviving daughters are Margie Phelps, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebekah Phelps-Davis.

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