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Famed theologian RC Sproul dies after being hospitalized due to breathing difficulties

(YouTube/Ligonier Ministries)R.C. Sproul appears in a screen capture of a video from Ligonier Ministries.

Theologian and founder of Ligonier Ministries, R.C. Sproul, passed away at age 78 on Thursday afternoon after he was hospitalized 12 days ago due to breathing difficulties.

"The Sproul family has shared the sad news with us that our founder, Dr. R.C. Sproul, went home to be with the Lord this afternoon. Please pray for the Sprouls," Ligonier Ministries announced on its website.

"He died peacefully after being hospitalized twelve days ago due to severe respiratory difficulties exacerbated by the flu and complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)," it continued.

The ministry reported on its website on Dec. 3 that Sproul had been hospitalized on Dec. 2 due to "respiratory difficulties" and was relying on a ventilator to breathe.

The theologian had remained in serious condition since that time and on Sunday, Ligonier reported that there has been no improvement in his condition. The ministry further explained that the had acquired a fever due to an infection and he has not decreased his reliance on a ventilator to support his breathing.

Sproul, an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, founded Ligonier Ministries in 1971 and has written over 300 lecture series, 90 books, and dozens of articles.

In a letter to Ligonier supporters, W. Robert Godfrey, the chairman of the ministry, said that Sproul "cannot be replaced," but he had outlined the plans on how the ministry will continue to carry out his work.

The plans were based on key decisions made by the ministry board and Sproul, who had known that his health was declining in recent years.

Godfrey noted that the board has established the Teaching Fellowship of R.C. Sproul and has invited several scholars and ministers to advance the work of the ministry. The Ligonier Teaching Fellows include Drs. Sinclair B. Ferguson, Steven J. Lawson, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Stephen J. Nichols, Burk Parsons, and Derek W.H. Thomas. The ministry has indicated that more fellows may be added to the group in the future.

Sproul had stressed that he wanted Ligonier to remain a "living and growing ministry after he passed and not just a monument to one man" and he wanted it to "continue to speak to contemporary problems."

Following the news of his passing, several religious leaders took to social media to reflect on how they were impacted by Sproul's ministry.

"One of the great, joyful, God-centered, Christ-exalting influences on my life. My tribute to RC Sproul," John Piper, founder of DesiringGod.org, wrote in a tweet.

"I am grieved to hear of the death of R.C. Sproul. It is hard to overestimate his influence on gospel-resurgent evangelicalism." Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, tweeted.

Sproul is survived by his wife of 57 years, Vesta Ann (Voorhis); their daughter, Sherrie Sproul Dorotiak; and their son, Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. The Sprouls have 11 grandchildren, a granddaughter who has passed away, and seven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service for Sproul will be held on Dec. 20 and people will have the opportunity to leave a note of appreciation for his ministry through the website RCSproul.com.

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