Tammy Faye Baker, the Christian singer, evangelist, entrepreneur, talk show host and scandal survivor has died of lung cancer. She was 65 years old.
Messner appeared on CNN's Larry King Live on July 19, and told the talk show host that se weighed 65 pounds and could only eat chicken soup and rice pudding.
Tammy Faye first battled cancer in 1996, when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She successfully treated the diseas but on March 19, 2004, just 2 weeks after her 62nd birthday, she announced she had lung cancer.
Illness was one of many battles Tammy Faye took on her during her life. She is best known as the ex-wife of Jim Bakker, the disgraced televengalist, convicted felon and admitted adulterer.
Tammy Faye and Jim married in 1961 with the goal of starting a traveling ministry. In 1973, the Bakkers established the short-lived Trinity Broadcasting Systems. The following year, Jim and Tammy Faye became the hosts of an existing North Carolina-based talk show, which they renamed the PTL (Praise the Lord) Club. Fueled by the success of the PTL Club, the Bakkers quickly established an entire Christian television network.
Fame, money and two children followed.
The Bakkers' empire began to unravel in 1980, when the national spotlight fell on Jim's adulterous affair with a church secretary, Jessica Hahn.
Adding fuel to the fire, investigations into Bakker's finances culminated in Jim’s conviction of fraud and conspiracy in 1989. During the tumultuous six-week trial, the federal government succeeded in proving that Jim solicited a total of $158 million from followers of the PTL, with about 4 million used for personal means). He was given a 45-year prison sentence, which was later reduced to six years.
In 1992, after a 31-year relationship, Tammy Faye and Jim divorced. The following year, Tammy Faye wed Roe Messner, a family friend and business associate of the Bakkers. Shortly after their marriage, Messner was imprisoned for fraud, but has since been released.
Tammy Faye was the subject of a fairly well-received documentary, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000) and then in 2004, appeared in the VH-1 reality series The Surreal Life.
She passed away hours after the interview =( Larry King repected the wishes of the family and waited to announce it. I'm glad she got to say her last words to the public. I'm sure she will be missed by many.
But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.
The world has lost a wonderful lady. I saw her Larry King excerpts and she looked sickly; I thought "She's going to die VERY soon." I didn't think it was going to be this soon though. I saw her on the Surreal Life and I knew nothing about her before, but when she did the book signing and told parents who have children that come out of the closet to give their kids the same love as before, I was proud that we did not have another Jerry Falwell.
I saw the interview the other night and I was so moved by her strength. Might I add that her apperance was just near disturbing, I could feel the death in her voice and in her overall energy. I don't know much of her career, but seeing her in that interveiw broke my heart, and at the same time it reminded me that we are on this earth to inspire and encourage others to live with that same courage and peace with ourselves, just as she did.