15:02 03 September 2012
The founder of the controversial Moonies Church, Sun Myung Moon, has died aged 92 following a battle with pneumonia.
Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church was notorious for marrying thousands of people in a single event ceremony. Followers of the church were named after him: Moonies.
Moon set up the wildly popular business in the 1950s in the South Korean capital, Seoul. During its genesis in 1954, it was known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
His business prowess was not just limited to religion however. Moon was also active in setting up newspaper syndicates (including the Washington Times paper in the US), universities, food outlets and even arms factories.
A controversial figure, Moon was accused of brainwashing his millions of members and and profiteering. Moon was convicted of tax evasion in 1982 and spent nearly a year in jail in America.
Moon was also noted for his outspoken views. In 2003 he issued a sermon claiming that the Holocaust was the Jews' payment for killing Jesus.
While Moon held many lavish properties in America and spent a great deal of time there, Moon died early on Monday morning at a hospital near his home in Gapyeong, north-east of Seoul. The hospital is owned by the church and is based within its headquarters.
The Church will hold a 13-day mourning period prior to his funeral on Cheonseung Mountain on September 15th.
Quoted by the BBC after addressing the press, Moon's aide Bo Hi Pak said: "He was our father and God's messiah. His body was custom-made by God so we believed he would live until 100."
Born in 1920 in Pyongan province (now within North Korea), he claimed Jesus visited him as a teenager twice requesting his services setting up a kingdom for God on earth.
Moon remained active well into his final years. In March this year he oversaw a mass wedding of roughly 2,500 followers - many of whom had not met before and were paired up by the church.
His empire is thought to now be under the control of his 14 children.
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