Rev. Fred Phelps Sr, has reportedly died, according to a report from Kansas First News on March 20. The report notes that the information of the controversial reverend’s passing was provided by Phelps' son, Tom Phelps.
The 84-year-old was known for founding the Westboro Baptist Church, which in turn was known for its controversial protests of funeral for soldiers, children and victims of anti-gay violence in order to spread its anti-gay message. Though the church was founded in Topeka, Kan., members of the church would travel across the country to display their messages of, “Thank God for dead soldiers.” General events, such as concerts, were also protested by members of the church.
Earlier this month it was learned that back in 2012, Phelps was excommunicated from the church, which is largely made up of his extended family. Son Nate Phelps learned his father left over a ‘falling out’ with the board of elders.
It was confirmed by a spokesperson within the Westboro Baptist Church that Fred Phelps was in a care home as of Sunday, March 16.
Petitions have formed on Facebook about Fred Phelps’ funeral and are gaining attention. Namely, the facebook page “Protest Fred Phelps' Funeral” has so far gained 1,367 likes as well as a write-up in USA Today. Whether such a protest will take place, is yet to be determined.