Tammy Faye Messner dies at 65
Anthony Cuesta | July 23, 2007
KANSAS CITY — Tammy Faye Messner, former wife of disgraced 1980s televangelist Jim Baker, died Friday of inoperable cancer. She was 65.
Tammy Faye Messner
Messner had battled colon cancer since 1996. More recently, the cancer spread to her lungs. She died peacefully Friday at her home near Kansas City, Mo., said Joe Spotts, her manager and booking agent, in a media statement. A family service was held Saturday in a private cemetery, where her ashes were interred, Spotts’ statement said. Messner revealed that she had been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer during a March 2004 appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live."
According to the LA Times, in a letter posted on her Web site in May, Messner said doctors had stopped treating her cancer and that her weight had dropped to 65 pounds. "Now," she wrote, "it's up to God and my faith."
"Don’t let fear rule your life," she wrote on her Web site. "Live one day at a time, and never be afraid."
As Tammy Faye Bakker in the 1970s and '80s, she was known as "the first lady of televangelism," a high-profile pioneer of the "electronic church" with the Bakker’s television ministry "The Jim and Tammy Show.”
The downfall of Jim Bakker began in 1987 with the revelation that he had had a one-time sexual encounter with a former church secretary, Jessica Hahn, in 1980 – and that $265,000 in ministry funds were later used to keep Hahn quiet.
In March 1987, the scandal resulted in Jim Bakker resignation as president of the Praise The Lord ministry (PTL) and turned it over to the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
In 1989, Jim Bakker was convicted on federal charges of fraud and conspiracy.
The Bakkers had divorced two years earlier. After three decades of marriage they had two children, Tammy Sue and Jamie. – Issued by Gay Link Content
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