Nigerian preacher Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known by his followers as Prophet TB Joshua, reportedly died moments after ending a church service before time when he felt unwell.
The founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan), died at 2am on Sunday, June 6, 2021, hours after he left the service and went to his house to rest.
Reports say Joshua walked out of the church to his apartment when he felt unwell during the service that started around 6pm on Saturday.
His followers and aides had thought the preacher left the service for a break but became anxious when he did not return as expected and church officials went to check on him. They found him dead.
Work from home
The pastor had earlier told his aides to work from home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the exception of some, including non-Nigerians who resided in the premises of the sprawling Church.
Lagos Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu said on Sunday that he received a report at 2am that the preacher was dead.
"I had to quickly get in touch with his family and it was confirmed. We do not really have details now but I can tell you he was ministering when he suddenly fell ill and left the church to rest,” he said.
Mr Odumosu said the pastor was officially pronounced dead by a hospital around 3am.
“It is true he is dead. I do not know the cause of his death yet. But the information we have is that he was conducting service…he felt uncomfortable, walked to his apartment by himself and never came back.
“His people thought he probably wanted to rest or refresh but when they didn’t see him after a long while, they went in search of him and found him in an unusual position,” he said.
The church said Joshua’s last words to his members were “watch and pray”.
Pastor Joshua is also the owner of the popular Emmanuel TV.
Scoan issued a statement confirming the death of the evangelist, whose followers believe has healing powers.
“God has taken His servant Prophet TB Joshua home – as it should be by divine will. His last moments on earth were spent in the service of God. This is what he was born for, lived for and died for,” wrote TB Joshua Ministries on its Facebook page.
The preacher, who has attracted powerful people from all over the world, including political leaders, died seven days before his 58th birthday. He was born on June 12, 1963.
Meanwhile, Oba Yisa Olanipekun, the monarch of Arigidi Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State, Joshua’s hometown, described the death as a rude shock.
Mr Olanipekun also described the preacher as a philanthropist and a peace lover who had put the town’s name on the global map.