SAN DIEGO, July 26 (UPI) -- Tim LaHaye, the well-respected leader of the American evangelical movement, inspiration to Jerry Falwell and co-author of the 16 best-selling Left Behind novels died Monday after suffering a stroke last week. He was 90.
The Left Behind novels, co-written with Jerry B. Jenkins, sold millions and cracked the mainstream beginning in the 1990s with tales based on the Bible's Book of Revelation and followed a group of people "left behind" after the second coming of Jesus.
"Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul that I don't expect to be filled until I see him again," Jenkins said in a statement.
The books made Christian fundamentalist sermons into page turners that were equally lauded and criticized. Some critics accused the books of being anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic.
The series eventually were turned into movies, video games, and clothing among other things. The books are considered perhaps the most successful Christian fiction in publishing history.
Lahaye was also a highly influential evangelical minister in Southern California, helping inspire and build Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition of America and Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority.