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Doctors say Robert Schuller has cancer, could live another two years

Robert H. Schuller, 89-year-old evangelist and founder of the Crystal Cathedral, was initially told he has three months to live.

September 05, 2013|By Anh Do
  • Doctors say that Robert H. Schuller, shown during a Sunday service at the Crystal Cathedral in 2010, has life-threatening cancer but with treatment could live another two years, the famed evangelist's famiy has announced.
Doctors say that Robert H. Schuller, shown during a Sunday service at the… (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles…)

Doctors say Robert H. Schuller has life-threatening cancer and that with treatment he could live another two years, the famed evangelist's family has announced.

The 89-year-old has a growth in his esophagus and was initially told he had three months to live, said his daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, who first shared the news with worshipers during a sermon in late August.

In follow-up exams, an oncologist advised Schuller that although the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, he was "a good candidate for chemotherapy and radiation treatment that could extend his life," according to an online update on the Hope Center of Christ's website, the church headed by Schuller Coleman.

Robert A. Schuller, the televangelist's son and a preacher himself, said he spent last Wednesday with his father, "and as you know, he's so easy-going. He has lived an amazing life" and tries not to focus on "negative" things.

The elder Schuller, once one of America's most prominent evangelical preachers, rose to fame as the founder of the Crystal Cathedral and the face and voice of its "Hour of Power" television program.

Schuller's ministry was launched in 1955 and stemmed from the Reformed Church in America. His upbeat religious messages eventually reached a global audience, thanks to the weekly TV broadcasts which, at their peak, attracted more than 20 million viewers worldwide.

The towering glass-paned cathedral that he and his supporters built was dedicated in 1980. More than three decades later, Schuller resigned from the church's board in 2012 after the organization filed for bankruptcy.

In 2012, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange bought the church property; it operates it as the Christ Cathedral campus.

Schuller, the author of 37 books, likes to keep fit, his family said, but fell in the middle of the night in July while at his home in Orange and was hospitalized for more than a week.

When physicians first speculated that Schuller might have only months to life, his family accepted the diagnosis as "inevitable," according to the Hope Center website. Later, they were "surprised" by the oncologist who believed he was strong enough to undergo treatment.

This past week, Schuller's older brother, Henry, who just turned 98, traveled from Iowa to Orange County for a visit.

"They were wonderful together," Robert A. Schuller said of his father and uncle. "It was absolutely beautiful to see them together. When they parted, they said, 'Next time, we'll see each other in heaven.'"

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