The self-professed messiah died at age 92 following complications from pneumonia.
Sun Myung Moon founded what became known as The Moonies in the Fifties in the South Korean capital of Seoul.
His Unification Church – the religion’s official name – has been accused over the years of brainwashing members and breaking families apart, while Moon had apparently made millions from the church’s business interests, which reportedly included arms factories and food distributors.
He arguably became most famous for marrying thousands of couples in a single ceremony – many of whom did not know each other but had been paired together by the church.
Moon claimed that Jesus appeared to him when he was 15 and asked him to establish god’s kingdom on Earth.
The church garnered most criticism in the Seventies and Eighties when it was accused of holding recruits against their will and forcing them to part with their life savings.
The church denied these allegations and attributed the criticism to the general suspicion directed at new religions.
However, Moon continued to court controversy, first being jailed for 11 months in the US in 1982 for tax evasion, and more recently condoning the holocaust in a 2003 sermon, claiming it was the Jews’ penance for killing Jesus.
According to the BBC, Moon remained active until as recently as March this year, when he reportedly married 2500 followers in a mass ceremony.