Thomas S. Monson, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), has died at age 90, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Tribune on Wednesday reported that Monson died the night before after leading Mormons worldwide for nearly a decade as their church’s president.
“With tender feelings we announce that Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died this evening at 10:01 p.m. in his home in Salt Lake City,” church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in an email late Tuesday.
“He was with his family at the time of his passing,” he added of Monson, who became the LDS Church’s 16th president in 2008.
Monson spent over 60 years as the bishop of a needy LDS congregation on Salt Lake City’s west side before later becoming the organization’s president.
The Mormon spent his entire career in the service of the LDS Church, working alongside every president it had since 1963 and becoming one of its 12 apostles at age 36. Monson was renowned among the world’s nearly 16 million LDS Church members for his focus on helping people in need.
“[Under Monson’s leadership] the threefold mission of the church was modified to include a fourth element, emphasizing outreach to the poor and less fortunate,” noted Stuart Reid, a former state legislator from Ogden, Utah.
“More than anything else during a lifetime of ministry, President Monson will be known for his charitable acts,” he added.
Russell M. Nelson, 93, is expected to become the LDS Church’s 17th president due to his status as the faith’s longest-serving apostle.
Monson presided over the LDS Church’s controversial 2015 decision to label same-sex Mormon couples as “apostates” worthy of possible excommunication. The policy also generally forbade the children of such couples from baptism and other religious rites until age 18. The decision sparked backlash from gay-rights advocates and progressive Mormons, while the faith’s more conservative members argued it was in keeping with traditional family values.