‘Moonies’ Leader Sun Myung Moon Dies
‘Moonies’ Leader Sun Myung Moon Dies, The self-proclaimed messiah who turned his Unification Church into a business empire, has died. Unification Church founder Moon dies at 92, Sun Myung Moon, the self-styled messiah from South Korea who founded the Unification Church famed for its mass weddings and business empire spanning cars to sushi, died Monday at the age of 92.
Moon, who was hospitalised with complications from pneumonia more than two weeks ago, died shortly before 2:00 am (1700 GMT Sunday) at a hospital in the church’s headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul.
Revered by his followers but denounced by critics as a cult-building charlatan who brainwashed church members, Moon was a deeply divisive figure whose shadowy business dealings saw him jailed in the United States.
His church, which he built into a global religious movement, was best known for organising mass weddings that married thousands — sometimes tens of thousands — of identically-clad couples in sports stadium ceremonies.
The couples often met for the first time on their wedding day after being personally paired up by Moon — despite often being of different nationalities and having no common language.
The church claimed its members — mocked as “Moonies” by the media — totalled three million at the time of his death, although some experts say numbers had fallen sharply from a peak in the 1980s to just several hundred thousand.
“He was our father and God’s messiah. His body was custom-made by God so we believed he would live until 100,” Moon’s close aide Bo Hi Pak told reporters in Gapyeong.
“Now with him gone to heaven, all of us are tremendously saddened. We are in the deepest sorrow,” a tearful Pak said.
Moon had been on life support since Friday after suffering multiple organ failure.