Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Tuesday at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to a statement from the organization. He was 90.
Monson became president of the church in 2008, and served in that capacity until his death. He “passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by family,” LDS posted on the church’s verified Facebook page.
Monson was born in Salt Lake City in 1927. He served in the US Navy near the close of World War II, according to his church biography. After the war, he graduated from the University of Utah and started a career in publishing.
He spent his life serving in the church, becoming a bishop at the age of 22. He was presiding over the church’s Canadian mission by his early 30s, becoming a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — which is a high executive body in the church — at age 36. He also supervised the church’s missions around the world including the western US, South Pacific, Mexico, Central America and Europe, according to the church’s statement. He was also assigned to countries behind the Iron Curtain where he worked to spread the religion during the Cold War and helped to get the Freiberg Germany Temple constructed.
Monson was the 16th president of the Church of Latter-day Saints, a role that is served for life. The church has almost 15.9 million members worldwide.
Monson was praised for his ability to connect with people.
Monson was “among the greatest men I have ever known,” tweeted Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. “Service was his motto and humility his hallmark.”
Monson and his wife, Frances J. Monson, who died in 2013, had three children.
On his 81st birthday, Monson was asked what would be an ideal gift from church members. He replied: “Do something for someone else on that day to make his or her life better. Find someone who is having a hard time, or is ill, or lonely, and do something for them. That’s all I would ask.”