Long reportedly delivered his final message to New Birth as the church brought in 2017. “He told the church that God was already working in our favor and what we have been praying for was already manifested,” the statement read.

First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, the Bishop’s wife of the past 27 years, released her own statement, saying that she was happy for him to finally be “at peace.”   “I am confidant through my belief in God that my husband is now resting in a better place,” Vanessa Long said. “Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate and be happy for him, knowing he’s at peace.”

In response to reports that Long had been hospitalized and only had months to live due to him battling a “grave” illness (which many believed to be cancer or AIDS/HIV), Long released a statement in September 2016 confirming that he was recovering from a “health challenge.”

“I am recovering from a health challenge that I trust God to deliver me from,” the statement read. “It is unrelated to the eating for life diet consisting of mostly raw vegetables that I am continuing, as part of a holistic approach to good health. At this time, my family and I are requesting that you respect our privacy. I truly appreciate your prayers and support for me, my loved ones and my beloved New Birth Church Family.”

Questions regarding the New Birth Pastor’s health were raised once again when he emerged months later in December 2016 with a shockingly frail appearance.  Looking Sickly Thin, Social Media Shocked by Pastor’s Drastic Weight Loss

Eddie Long was born on May 12, 1953 in Huntersville, North Carolina. He was chosen as pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in 1987, four years after the church after the church adopted its current name. When Long became pastor, the church had around 300 members, but as of today, the church’s current membership is nearly 30,000 parishioners.

In 2010, Long was accused of sexually abusing four male members of his congregation. The men, who are all now in their 20s, each filed separate civil lawsuits, and told similar stories of Long approaching them in their early teens.

The young men accused him of indoctrinating them as “spiritual sons” and offering them cash, cars and trips to exotic locations around the world. When they turned 17 or 18, the men said their relationships with Long would quickly turn sexual.

Though no criminal charges were filed (because the men were of legal consenting age when they allegedly had sex with Long), the lawsuits against Long were eventually settled in 2011 for an undisclosed amount.

Bishop Eddie Long is survived by his wife of 27 years, First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, as well as their four children (three sons and a daughter): Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor, and three grandchildren.

When Long started as pastor for New Birth Church, there were 300 church members, which grew to 25,000.  During this time, Long was a subject of a Senate investigation, concerning whether he personally profited from his church's tax-exempt status, which eventually ended without a finding of wrongdoing. Also, civil lawsuits were filed against him alleging sexual abuse of underage male members of his parish. Long denied wrongdoing through his attorneys and privately settled the lawsuits out of court for undisclosed amounts.

Long was born in Huntersville, North Carolina, on May 12, 1953, the son of the Rev. Floyd M. Long, Jr. and Hattie Long. He attended North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, where he received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1977. In 2008, Long donated $1 million to the university to establish a professorship in his name, saying “I am making (the donation) from my own personal income," which comes from various real estate ventures and also as royalties from his books.   Long then worked as a factory sales representative for the Ford Motor Corporation, but was fired after he submitted expense reports that included personal telephone calls.

Long claimed to hold a doctorate in "Pastoral Ministry" from the unaccredited International College of Excellence, which is not recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or United States Department of Education, the two institutions responsible for recognizing educational accrediting institutions in the United States

Following his dismissal from Ford, he moved to Atlanta to study theology and became the pastor of a small Jonesboro, Georgia church. In 1987 he became the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which at the time had around 300 members. Under Long, membership grew to 25,000. The church may be considered part of the Bapticostal movement. Long married Dabara S. Houston in 1981 and they were divorced soon afterwards. The couple have a son, Edward Long. Houston said she was the victim of "cruel treatment" and was afraid of Long's "violent and vicious temper," according to Fulton County Superior Court records. She and her son allegedly "had to flee the couple's Fairburn home in order to ensure their safety". Long vigorously denied the allegations and in 1985 Houston was awarded custody of the then 2-year-old son.

Long married Vanessa Griffin in 1990. After he was accused of sexually molesting young fatherless boys in the church, she filed for divorce in December 2011. On the same day New Birth's public relations firm claimed that she had rethought her decision and would withdraw her petition: "Upon further prayerful reflection Vanessa Long is withdrawing the divorce petition." However Griffin’s attorneys later confirmed that she would continue with the divorce. 

In response, Long stated that he would be taking a leave of absence from his ministry in an attempt to save his marriage, and that "he needed time to take care of 'some family business.'" Later that month, New Birth Christian Academy, founded by Long, announced it was closing due to lack of donations and "sending hundreds of students scrambling to find a new school by the following week", in the wake of Long's marital and sexual problems.

On February 17, 2012, one of Long's lawyers, Lawrence Cooper, confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Vanessa Long had asked that the divorce petition be dismissed. Cooper declined to say if the Longs were reunited. In an emailed response to the AJC, Vanessa’s lawyers declined to comment.  On September 5, 2012, during the Heart to Heart Women’s Ministry Conference at New Birth, Vanessa Long stated that while she struggled with the decision to divorce Long following those accusations of sexual misconduct with male minors, she chose to return to her marriage and to the New Birth family so she could share her experience and offer guidance for others.

AVVO - PASTOR Eddie Long—According to Eddie Long, Jesus wasn’t broke, and leaders of churches shouldn’t be either. Long had earned millions in salary from his ministry, owned a million dollar home on a 20-acre lot, has use of a $350,000 Bentley, and pulls in a host of other benefits too.

Long was also in the group of televangelists who refused to give the Senate the information requested of the ministry. 

Senator Grassley, the leader of this investigation, said “When I hear about leaders of charities being provided a $300,000 Bentley to drive around in, my fear is that it’s the taxpayers who subsidize this charity who are really being taken for a ride.”

Mega-church pastor Eddie Long, Atlanta's favorite son (of) has been accused of accused of coercing young men into sexual relationships. At this point, there are three very detailed civil lawsuits against him. 

A third lawsuit against Long was filed.  The suit filed in DeKalb County, Georgia, State Court was brought on by Jamal Parris, now 23, who was a teenager at the time he joined Long's church.  He also names the church and a youth academy as defendants.

Allegations that Long coerced young male church members and employees into sex are at the head of the controversy.  Parris joined New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in 2001, when he was 14. 

The suit, also filed by attorney B.J. Bernstein, claims Long engaged in sexual acts with Parris. The young man eventually became a church employee and served as personal assistant to Long and traveled with him, the suit says. The pastor continued to engage in sexual activity with Parris and gave him money, trips and gifts, the suit says.

It says Parris left the church in late 2009, "disillusioned, confused and angry about his relationship with Defendant Long." The bishop manipulated and deceived Parris into thinking that the acts were a "healthy component of his spiritual life," the suit states.  

Additional lawsuits filed Tuesday in DeKalb County by two men allege that Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young male members and employees of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex. CNN was the first to report on the lawsuits.

"Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship," the suits allege. Long is considered one of the nation's top African-American preachers. His church has more 25,000 members, according to the suit, and was the site of Coretta Scott King's 2006 funeral, attended by then-President George W. Bush and three former presidents. Luther King Jr.

One of the men, Anthony Flagg, 21, alleges in his suit that Long took him on overnight trips to a half-dozen American cities in recent years. "Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact," the suit says.

The other man, Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, claims Long took him to Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2008 for his 19th birthday and engaged in oral sex with him, Robinson's suit alleges.

"Following the New Zealand trip, defendant Long regularly engaged in sexual touching, and other sexual acts with plaintiff Robinson," Robinson's suit alleges.  Bernstein, who represents Parris, Flagg and Robinson, said Wednesday that the youths' accounts are "really strong."

 Fortunately for these young men Eddie Long is DEAD... they have to put their lives back together.