His son Nathan Phelps, who ran away from the church when he was 18, posted a message on his Facebook page confirming that his father was having health problems.

“I’m not sure how I feel about this,” he said, as quoted on The Independent website. “Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.

“I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved.”

The Westboro Baptist Church started making headlines when they picketed funerals with aggressive placards reading ‘God hates fags’, ‘You’re going to hell’ and ‘Antichrist Obama’. They were the subject of Louis Theroux’s documentary, The Most Hated Family in America.

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