Cho Yong-gi

Charismatic sect leader Cho Yong-gi of Seoul’s Yoido Full Gospel Church, the biggest congregation in the world, died after a long illness in the early hours of Tuesday. He was 85.

Cho had been treated in hospital since he had surgery for a brain hemorrhage late last year.

A memorial altar will be set up at the church on Wednesday.

Cho conducted his first services in a tent in northwestern Seoul in 1958 with Pentecostal preacher Choi Ja-sil, who later became his mother-in-law. With his reputation for speaking in tongues and healing, he soon attracted a sensational following.

In 1973, Cho moved the church to its current location in Yeouido and by 1993 he had 700,000 followers and made it into the Guinness Book of Records.

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