Fred Phelps, the 84-year-old driving force behind the Westboro Baptist Church, is reportedly in hospice care and "on the edge of death" in Kansas, his estranged son says in a Facebook post. Nate Phelps also claims that the elder Phelps was ex-communicated by his own church last year. "Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way," wrote the younger Phelps, who left the church in 1980. "Destroyed by the monster he made."
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A second estranged son, Mark, tells the Topeka Capital-Journal that the news "is accurate."
A Westboro spokesman confirms that the elder Phelps is in hospice care with "a couple things going on," but that "the source that says he's near death is not well informed."
Anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church is known for protesting high-profile funerals.
Continues Nate Phelps' post: "I feel sad for all the hurt he's caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I'm bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes."
CBS notes that just last week, a Missouri court ruled that Westboro protesters must stay at least a football field away from funerals.