Son says Fred Phelps Sr. of Westboro Baptist Church is near death

Fred Phelps Sr., founder of the Westboro Baptist Church known for its virulently anti-gay pickets, is in a care facility, a church spokesman said Sunday.

The statement came after a Facebook post that appeared to come from Phelps’ estranged son Nathan Phelps said that Phelps, 84, was near death.

“I can tell you that Fred Phelps is having some health problems,” church spokesman Steve Drain said. “He’s an old man, and old people get health problems.”

A staffer at a hospice told The Star she could release no information, citing health care privacy laws.

The post on the Facebook page for Nathan Phelps, who left the Topeka church years ago, said Fred Phelps “was excommunicated from the ‘church’ back in August of 2013.”

Drain declined to comment Sunday on whether Fred Phelps had been voted out of the church. Drain said Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t have a designated leader.

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