"I’m thankful for the time God has given me, but I’m ready to see Jesus," Keller prayed before he passed away on Friday, May 19, 2023. Photo from Timothy Keller on Facebook.

Esteemed pastor and bestselling author Timothy J Keller died yesterday (May 19) at the age of 72, after having been discharged from the hospital to receive hospice care at home just a day earlier. 

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2020, Keller had recently been plagued by complications from his cancer treatment.

Repeatedly admitted to the hospital in the last several days, he had “expressed many times through prayer his desire to go home to be with Jesus”, wrote Michael Keller, one of his three sons, in a Facebook update.

“Dad waited until he was alone with Mom. She kissed him on the forehead, and he breathed his last breath.” 

Timothy Keller with his wife, Kathy. Photo by Sam Allberry on Facebook.

While with his family during his last week, Keller had prayed: “I’m thankful for all the people who’ve prayed for me over the years. I’m thankful for my family that loves me.

“I’m thankful for the time God has given me, but I’m ready to see Jesus.

“I can’t wait to see Jesus. Send me home.”

Timothy Keller (centre) in a panel discussion with Pulitzer Prize columnist Nicholas Kristof (right) at Redeemer’s Center for Faith & Work (CFW) event in 2016. CFW is the cultural renewal arm of the Redeemer movement started by Timothy Keller. Photo by CFW on Facebook.

Seeds of faith

Keller founded and pastored Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the heart of New York in 1989, stepping down as senior pastor only in 2017.

He continued his pastoral ministry through Redeemer City to City, a global church-planting network he co-founded and chaired. It has grown to more than 500 churches in cities all over the world, including Singapore.

“Dad waited until he was alone with Mom. She kissed him on the forehead, and he breathed his last breath.” 

A co-founder of The Gospel Coalition website of Christian resources, Keller was himself a prolific writer whose words have shaped and encouraged the faith of millions worldwide.

Many of his books, such as The Reason for God, The Prodigal God and The Meaning of Marriage, which he co-authored with his wife, Kathy, have been bestsellers and translated into multiple languages.

His book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, was written after his battle with thyroid cancer in 2002.

“He has deeply impacted me and changed my life as he has many others,” said Tan Huai Tze, lead pastor of One Covenant Church in Singapore, which is part of the Redeemer CTC network.

“Our world feels like a scarier place without him, but we will get through because Tim always pointed to Jesus who is with us still.”

Redeemer City to City  will be holding a livestream worship service in the coming weeks; more details to be released soon.

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About the author

Tan Huey Ying

Huey Ying is now an Assignments Editor at Salt&Light, having worked in finance, events management and aquatics industries. She usually has more questions than answers but is always happiest in the water, where she's learning what it means to "be still".