Paul Crouch, the Evangelical leader and broadcaster who founded the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died on Saturday. He was 79.

Paul Crouch Dead At 79

Crouch had suffered from a degenerative heart disease for the last 10 years, which ultimately led to his death, according to representatives from the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Crouch, along with his wife Janice Crouch, founded TBN in 1973 when they purchased their first station in Santa Ana, Calif., reported The New York Times. The couple went on to expand their network throughout the country and across the globe. At present, TBN runs on 84 satellite channels and has more than 18,000 TV and cable affiliates. Crouch long hosted the popular Behind the Scenes program.

The successful and profitable network hosted sermons from the likes of mega-church preacher Joel Osteen and had former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum sit down for an interview. However, TBN and Crouch have come under fire in the past for championing a “prosperity gospel” that saw the family acquire considerable wealth.

Crouch is survived by his wife; two sons, Paul Jr. and Matthew, and several grandchildren.

– Chelsea Regan

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