Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and former presidential candidate, died Thursday at age 93, CBN announced.
CBN said he died at his home surrounded by family. The cause of his death was not announced.
Robertson founded the influential Christian Broadcasting Network in 1960 and anchored its top program “The 700 Club” until 2021. As the show grew in popularity, so did Robertson. Using his popularity, he helped make religion a big part of Republican politics and ushered in the early evangelical right movement.
Robertson took a brief hiatus from the show in 1987 and 1988 to vie for the Republican presidential nomination, coming in third behind then-Vice President George Bush and Sen. Bob Dole.
Robertson’s “The 700 Club” grew from a telethon when Robertson asked 700 viewers to contribute $10 a month. The program welcomed a number of U.S. presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.
Robertson also was criticized, especially among those on the left, for what appeared on “The 700 Club.” One of the show’s most controversial moments came following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when televangelist Jerry Falwell told Robertson, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”
In addition to broadcasting, Robertson helped launch CBN University, which later became Regent University. The Christian-based university has over 30,000 alumni, according to CBN. He also authored 24 books, including one just released in May.
Robertson had four children, 14 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. His wife Adelia of 64 years died last year.