Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., who founded the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in the 1950s, has died. He was 84.

Margie Phelps said her father died on Thursday but did not disclose the cause of death.

On Sunday, Phelps' estranged son Nate Phelps said in a Facebook post that his controversial father was excommunicated from the church last August and was living in a hospice house in Topeka.

Church spokesman Steve Drain, who decided to join the church through the course of filming a documentary, declined to say whether the church had excommunicated its founder. Over the weekend he confirmed that Fred Phelps Sr. was living in the hospice house named by his son but added: “The source that says he's near death is not well informed.”

Westboro Baptist Church is best known for coining the phrase “God hates fags” and picketing at the funerals of fallen soldiers, because their deaths are the price America pays for its acceptance of “the sin of homosexuality.”

In the late 70s, Phelps, a Washburn University law school graduate, was disbarred from Kansas state courts.