Evangelist and Christ for All Nations founder Reinhard Bonnke has died at the age of 79.
In a statement, Bonnke's wife Anni said he had “passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family”. Bonnke is also survived by his children Kai-Uwe, Gabrielle and Susie, and eight grandchildren.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is with sorrow that the Bonnke Family would like to announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, evangelist Reinhard Bonnke,” she said.
“He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on December 7, 2019. For the past 60 years he has preached the glorious Gospel of Jesus throughout the entire world.
“We want to thank you on behalf of him and our family, for your kind love and unwavering support, which enabled him to preach the matchless message of salvation to countless people.”
The Bonnke family have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be given to CfaN's Gospel Crusades – large scale evangelistic events held in Africa.
News of his passing on Saturday was shared by Daniel Kolenda, Bonnke's successor as president of CfaN.
“It is with great sadness that I and Christ for All Nations announce the death of our founder, friend and spiritual father, Reinhard Bonnke,” he said.
“All told, more than 79-million people made Christ their Lord as a result of Evangelist Bonnke's ministry. Bonnke was best known for his gospel outreach campaigns throughout Africa.
“It is no exaggeration to say that his work transformed the continent.”
Bonnke spent six decades preaching around the world, but Africa was a particular focus of his ministry. He stepped back from full-time ministry several years ago for health reasons, passing the reins of CfaN on to Kolenda.
In October 2017, he held a farewell crusade in Nigeria attended by over a million people.
Christians and a number of high profile African politicians were among those paying tribute on Twitter.
Donald Trump's spiritual adviser Paula White tweeted: “I pray for all the family, friends and lives that you profoundly impacted with your life and ministry. You served Jesus well and finished your course.
“You were one of the greatest evangelists of our time! I was honored to minister with you on several occasions.”
Kipchumba Murkomen, Majority Leader of the Kenyan Senate, said: “Fare thee well Ev.Reinhard Bonnke. You touched many lives. For me after Billy Graham it was Reinhard Bonnke. You are safe at home. Rest in Eternal Peace!”
Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Nigeria's Delta State, said: “My prayers are with the family of Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke of Christ for All Nations, who passed away earlier today.
“Bonnke's work all over the world, especially in Africa, supported the faith of millions of Christians across several generations. He will be dearly missed.”