SOUTH KOREA — The Reverend Sun Myung Moon – a controversial religious and political figure who founded the Unification Church, a major institution in East Asia and beyond that gained fame decades ago for its mass weddings – died early today in South Korea, the church said.
The Universal Peace Federation said on its website that Moon died of complications related to pneumonia. He was 92.
“Our True Father passed into the spiritual world at 1:54 a.m. Monday, September 3, Korea time,” a message on a Unification Church English-language website said.
His funeral will be held on September 15 after nearly two weeks of mourning, the church said in a statement. Moon’s mortuary will be open for visitors to pay respects from Thursday until the funeral, it said.
“Rev. Moon died from overwork, from frequent trips aboard, including to the US, and from morning prayers which caused respiratory disease,” Ahn Ho-yeol, a church spokesman said.
The Washington Times, one of several publications that Moon founded, similarly reported Moon’s death.
“Words cannot convey my heart at this time,” Thomas P. McDevitt, the Times’ president, said in a story on the newspaper’s website. “Rev. Sun Myung Moon has long loved America, and he believed in the need for a powerful free press to convey accurate information and moral values to people in a free world.” (CNN)