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Reverend Jerry Falwell Dead At 73

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The Reverend Jerry Falwell, the television evangelist who angered many New Yorkers by calling the 9/11 terrorist attacks “God’s punishment” just days after the attacks, died at the age of 73 Tuesday.

The founder of the Moral Majority was found unconscious in his office around 10:45 a.m. at Liberty University in Virginia. Falwell's doctor says he suffered from a heart rhythm abnormality, but it is not yet clear how he died.

The preacher known for mixing politics and religion was no stranger to controversy. Days after the 9/11 attacks, he essentially blamed feminists, gays, lesbians and liberal groups for bringing the attacks on themselves.

He later apologized, and he even spoke to CNN about it as recently as last week.

"If we decide to change all the rules on which this Judeo-Christian nation was built, we cannot expect the Lord to put his shield of protection around us as he has in the past,” he said.

Three years ago, Falwell also said he'd think twice before working to help elect former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for president in 2008 because of Giuliani's views on abortion and gay rights. He said he would "find it impossible to energize evangelical constituencies for anyone but a pro-life, pro-family candidate."

Giuliani released a statement regarding the passing of Falwell.

"I express my condolences to his family, Reverend Falwell's family, and to his much larger family,” he said in a statement. “He was a man who set a direction. He was someone who was not afraid to speak his mind. We all have great respect for him. He is a person who told you what he thought and you knew where he stood. My sympathies and my prayers go out to his family·"

Falwell is survived by his wife and three children.

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