In this 1987 file photo, televangelist Oral Roberts gestures as he speaks. (AP Photo, File)

Roberts in 1987.(AP Photo/File)

By Mark Memmott

From Tulsa, the Associated Press reports that:

A spokesman for Oral Roberts says the evangelist and university founder has died at age 91.

We'll pass along more as the story develops.

Update at 4:30 p.m. ET: At The Oklahoman, the coverage begins with this: "Oral Roberts, arguably the most well-known evangelist from Oklahoma, has died. He was 91. Decades ago, Roberts made a name for himself as an itinerant minister, holding tent meetings which drew many people to hear his fervent preaching. He was especially known for his healing ministry."

And the newspaper has posted this video obituary:

Update at 4:15 p.m. ET: As Time reminded its readers, in 1987 Roberts famously told his supporters that if they didn't send him $8 million then the Lord would "call me home." The donations came in.

Twenty years later, he had to come out of retirement to help pull the university that bears his name out of scandal and financial distress. A wealthy Oklahoma City businessman came forward with a $70 million pledge that bailed out the university.

Update at 4 p.m. ET: The AP now reports that: "Spokesman A. Larry Ross said by phone from Carrollton, Texas, that Roberts died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia in Newport Beach, Calif. Roberts was hospitalized after a fall on Saturday. He had survived two heart attacks in the 1990s and a broken hip in 2006."

Update at 3:48 p.m. ET: In Tulsa, where Roberts built university and his legacy, the World starts its story with this:

The Rev. Oral Roberts, the internationally known television evangelist and faith healer who founded Oral Roberts University, died Monday in Newport Beach, Calif.

It adds that "the often-controversial charismatic minister built Oral Roberts University, the now-closed City of Faith Medical and Research Center and the University Village Retirement Center in Tulsa."

He was "born Granville Oral Roberts in Pontotoc County (Okla.) in January 1918."

Update at 3:45 p.m. ET: The Tulsa World has an online package -- Oral Roberts: The Man. The Mission The Minstry -- about Roberts' life and career.

Update at 3:38 p.m. ET: Roberts' website has the news. "In Loving Memory: Oral Roberts; January 24, 1918 - December 15, 2009."

There's a memorial website here.

categories: National News, Obituaries, Religion

3:32 - December 15, 2009