Mormon Church President Thomas S. Monson Dies at 90 - NBC 7 San Diego
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Mormon Church President Thomas S. Monson Dies at 90

During his nearly 10-year tenure, Church membership grew from 13 million to more than 16 million members worldwide

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    Douglas C. Pizac/AP, File
    In this Oct. 6, 2007, file photo, Thomas S. Monson, the First Counselor of the Mormon church, laughs while waiting for the start of the 177th semi-annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. Monson passed away Jan. 2, 2017, at the age of 90.

    Thomas S. Monson, the 16th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who led the nearly 16 million-member faith for nine years as the church's "prophet, seer and revelator," died Tuesday evening at the age of 90.

    Monson, who served as president of the church since February 2008, died from causes incident to age, according to a statement from the church.

    Two years ago, the Utah-based faith announced Monson was "feeling the effects of advancing age." Since then, he had scaled back his conference speeches. He was most recently hospitalized in April 2017, although church officials had declined to offer any specifics on the nature of Monson's treatments in the hospital.

    "More even than his words of strength and inspiration, he will be remembered for the abundance of his love and the overflowing of his compassion for every one of God’s children," said Mitt Romney, the first Mormon nominated for president by a major political party, in a statement Wednesday.

    But even in his final years, Monson continued his decades-long legacy of quietly ministering to the sick and comforting the bereaved, according to the church's announcement. “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved,” Monson taught.

    During his tenure, worldwide church membership grew by 3 million. This was despite some of the most intense scrutiny that the Mormon faith had faced in its history, from a divisive vote over gay marriage to high-profile Mormon candidacies for president and a hotly debated policy for same-sex couples and their children.

    The World War II veteran served on President Ronald Reagan's Task Force for Private Sector Initiatives in 1981.

    Monson is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

    His successor is not expected to be chosen until after the funeral.