Rev. Sun Myung Moon Dead At 92
The 92-year-old died from complications from pneumonia two weeks after he was admitted to the hospital. He was surrounded by his wife and family.
Moon gained notoriety for the mass weddings during which he wed thousands of couples simultaneously. He established the Unification Church shortly after the Korean War ended in 1954, claiming Jesus Christ appeared to him personally. The self-appointed messiah made his mark on the Korean peninsula and beyond as he grew his Bible-based upstart religion into a multibillion dollar international company with holdings in media, real estate and even sushi. Moon served time for filing false tax returns in the U.S. in the 1980's.
The Unification Church claims to have 3 million members, or "Moonies," worldwide, though former members suggest the actual membership is closer to 100,000. The church has been accused of brainwashing its members and exploiting their finances.
Moon handed over the day-to-day operations of the church to his children, with his youngest son being named the top religious director in 2008. The late Moon managed to forge a relationship with the notoriously isolated North Korea in 1991 and even met the country's founder, Kim Il Sung. Moon sent condolence delegations from his church to the funerals of Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il.
U.S. presidents have been friendly with Moon, as well. The religious leader formed relationships with Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
“He will always be remembered as the embodiment of loving and sharing without limits, sacrifice and suffering without limits, courage and service without limits — and all this not for family, race, community or nation, but for humankind as a whole,” said Indian Ambassador K.V. Rajan.