Global evangelist Ravi Zacharias has died

World renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias has died, aged 74.

The Indian-born Canadian-American died this morning at his home in Georgia, USA, following a brief battle with sarcoma (a rare form of cancer in the spine).

His death follows many public tributes already shared about a leading figure who developed an international evangelism organisation, wrote numerous Christian books and publicly defended the Christian faith since his conversion at 17.

“The love and kindness he had come to know in and through Jesus Christ was the same love he wanted to share with all he met.” -RZIM

Zacharias is survived by his wife of 48 years, Margie; daughters, Sarah and Naomi; son, Nathan; and five grandchildren.

“[Ravi] saw the objections and questions of others not as something to be rebuffed, but as a cry of the heart that had to be answered,” said Michael Ramsden, president of RZIM, in a statement following Zacharias’s death.

“People weren’t logical problems waiting to be solved; they were people who needed the person of Christ.

“Those who knew him well will remember him first for his kindness, gentleness, and generosity of spirit. The love and kindness he had come to know in and through Jesus Christ was the same love he wanted to share with all he met.”

Since Zacharias founded his Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) in 1984, it has grown into a global team of speakers with offices throughout the world in: the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa, the United Kingdom, Spain, Romania, Turkey, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Austria, Germany, Macedonia, and Switzerland.

Tributes for Zacharias have been posted across social media during the past week, after his ministry announced that he received a terminal medical report. RZIM invited Christians around the world to post testimonies of how Zacharias’ ministry has influenced them, under the hashtag #ThankYouRavi, saying the testimonies would be passed on to Zacharias and his family.

Christians of all stripes from across the world responded, with gratitude the common theme.

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What in the world ties a black kid from hip hop culture to a scholar from Delhi, India? I used to find myself on tour rapping in front of thousands of people, leaving stage and coming back to my tour bus devouring his videos and lectures. As a former atheist and skeptic, now believer, I wanted my peers in the culture who didn’t believe to have answers to hard questions. “Why is there evil in the world?” “Where is God in the midst of suffering and injustice?” I would digest his lectures in front prestigious universities and craft the insight into my own language. Because of #ravizacharias I had answers to hard questions. Who would’ve thought a tour bus full of young rappin city kids would go in between watching Hip Hop award shows to theological debates and lectures. I just want to give this man his roses while he’s still here. I know God is likely taking him home soon, but Im glad he was here during my life time. #thankyouravi

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On February 2, Zacharias announced he would be undergoing emergency spinal repair surgery after pain had intensified since two previous spinal surgeries. Eleven days after the surgery, his wife Margie posted an update, describing his recovery as progressing “at a slower pace than he expected”.

Then on March 13, Zacharias made the official announcement: “We have learned in the past week that a biopsy taken during the procedure revealed that I have a malignant tumor on my sacrum – a very rare cancer called Sarcoma. Indeed, we now know this is the cause of my extreme pain. In the past few days, we have been meeting with specialists to determine the next course of action. They will wait until I am fully healed from the back surgery, and in 4-5 weeks, will begin treatment to shrink the tumor.”

The Zacharias family then returned to their home in Atlanta, Georgia, to “be together for whatever time the Lord gives us.”

At the time, Sarah Zacharias Davis said in a statement: “We know that God has purposed and numbered each of our days, and only He knows how many more Ravi will experience on this earth. One day, likely sooner than later, we will be serving without our beloved founder, though I know his love and legacy will convict and inspire us to service of his Lord even greater than we have seen before.

“While we are full of so many emotions, we are also at peace, resting in the truth that God knows all and sees all and is sovereign and good. I think of the great joy my dad will have and I am comforted. Thank you for taking this journey with us, and as always, for your faithful prayers.”