Televangelist Paul Crouch Dead at 79

Founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network was known for advocating "prosperity gospel"

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Paul Crouch Sr.
Brittany Koper / AP

Paul Crouch Sr.

Paul Crouch, who co-founded the Christian-based Trinity Broadcasting Network with his wife Janice, died on Saturday. He was 79.

Crouch suffered from degenerative heart disease for the past decade, according to the network.

The couple founded Trinity Broadcasting Network in 1973, buying their first station in Santa Ana, Calif., before expanding the company across the world, The New York Times reports. TBN currently runs on 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television affiliates.

Crouch was criticized for advocating “prosperity gospel,” which argued that donating would lead to eventual personal profit as well. The company reaped $93 million in donations in 2010.

The couple had matching his-and-her mansions in Newport Beach, Calif., and used multimillion dollar corporate jets. Crouch’s own granddaughter accused the company of financial improprieties last year, alleging her job was to conceal personal expenses under company spending. But a TBN lawyer said she and her husband were fired, and accused them of stealing $1.3 million.

Crouch is survived by his wife; two sons, Paul Jr. and Matthew, and their children.

[The New York Times]