NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tammy Faye Bakker, the disgraced televangelist whose reputations was rehabilitated through a documentary and reality show, has penned a goodbye letter to her fans in which she says doctors have stopped treating her cancer.
“The doctors have stopped trying to treat the cancer and so now it’s up to God and my faith. And that’s enough! But please continue to pray for the pain and sick stomach,” Tammy Faye wrote in a letter to her “faithful friends” on her Web site.
“My precious daughter, Tammy Sue, and her wonderful friends are staying with me,” Tammy Faye wrote. “They don’t want me falling down the stairs. I am down weight wise to 65 pounds, and look like a scarecrow. I need God’s miracle to swallow.”
In 1996 Tammy Faye was diagnosed with colon cancer. In 2004 she learned the cancer had returned, this time in her lungs.
Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim, were household names in the United States, with a television evangelical empire that brought in close to an estimated $130 million annually at its height in the 1980s and reached 13 million homes daily.
Tammy Faye’s face was one of the most recognized on American television, the mascara running riot as she tearfully beseeched viewers to open their hearts to Jesus — and their wallets to the Bakkers’ causes.
It all came crashing down amid sex and financial scandals that landed Jim in prison for five years. Tammy Faye divorced Jim and married his best friend.
In 2000, a critically acclaimed documentary about her life, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” was released and did much to rehabilitate her image. Then in 2004 Tammy Faye appeared on the cult reality show “The Surreal Life,” where she lived in a house alongside such other “celebrities” as porn star Ron Jeremy and rapper Vanilla Ice, winning over the audience and fellow cast mates with her warmth and humor.