Fred Phelps, the controversial preacher who founded the Westboro Baptist Church, passed away this week at the Shawnee County facility in Topeka.
He was 84 years old.
Phelps’ son, Tim, confirmed the death to Kansas First News.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are infamous for protesting at funerals of soldiers with signs with messages such as “Thank God for dead soldiers,” and “Thank God for 9/11.”
They believe these deaths are God’s punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.
Said Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, in a statement, in response to those wishing to picket Phelps’ funeral:
“This is our moment as a community to rise above the sorrow, anger, and strife he sowed, and to show the world we are caring and compassionate people who respect the privacy and dignity of all.”
We’re not about to include Phelps among these respected celebrities, but here’s a look at other famous people that have died in 2014: