NEW YORK — Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, one of New York City’s most prominent religious leaders, has died at the age of 73.
He led Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church as senior pastor for more than 30 years and spent 50 years in the ministry.
The church announced his death early Friday morning, saying he passed away peacefully after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Butts was dedicated to his faith, but his impact went far beyond the pulpit. He was an advocate for social and racial justice and was a guiding light in his Harlem community.
– Rev. Al Sharpton, the Founder and President of the National Action Network, issued the following statement on the death of Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III.
“Rev. Butts was a major pillar in the Harlem community and is irreplaceable. He was a dominant faith and academic leader for decades. We knew each other for more than 40 years, and while we did not always agree we always came back together. Over the last three years, he and I worked closely as co-chairs of the Choose Healthy Life national campaign to help the Black community fight COVID. We spoke as late as a couple of weeks ago about this work, as he was still fighting cancer. He will be tremendously missed.”