Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Has Died at 84

Westboro Baptist Church founder Reverend Fred Phelps has died in Kansas, under hospice care, at age 84. As the driving force and head of the church for nearly 50 years, Phelps saw its transformation from a deeply hateful small-time operation, to likely the most infamously loathed church in all of America. Earlier this week, his declining health became a matter of public knowledge, as well as rumors that he'd been excommunicated from the hyper-fundamentalist sect he founded.

Known far and wide for picketing the funerals of dead soldiers, gay people, or just about anyone they pleased, all the while brandishing colorful, abysmally inhumane signs proclaiming God's hatred for them all, Phelps' legacy will undoubtedly go down as one of animus and cultish religious fervor.

Earlier this week, Bustle reported about Phelps' declining health, which had been characterized in the media as "near-death," a description which was disputed by WBC spokesman Steve Drain.

Phelps is survived by countless family members still in the thick of the WBC, and many outside of it, too — his deathbed status was first reported by his estranged son Nathan, and his granddaughters Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper, who fled the church in 2013, nonetheless have tweeted their anguish at learning their grandfather was going to die.

The WBC's Twitter account, on the other hand, has made no mention of Phelps' death following the news.