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Family says Message author joyfully looked toward heaven as he neared death, saying, “Let’s go.”

Eugene Peterson has completed his “long obedience in the same direction.”

The Presbyterian pastor, best known for authoring The Message Bible, died today at age 85, a week after entering hospice care for complications related to heart failure and dementia.

Author Winn Collier first shared the news on Twitter. “My dear friend and pastor Eugene Peterson has died this morning,” he wrote. “The lantern is out, but the joy he carried with him to his final breaths endures. Eugene is now with the Triune God he has loved his entire life. Memory eternal.”

NavPress, publishers of The Message, confirmed Peterson’s death. His family released a statement on his final, joyful days earthside.

“During the previous days, it was apparent that he was navigating the thin and sacred space between earth and heaven,” they stated. “We overheard him speaking to people we can only presume were welcoming him into paradise. There may have even been a time or two when he accessed his Pentecostal roots and spoke in tongues as well.

“Among his final words were, ‘Let’s go.’ And his joy: my, oh my; the man remained joyful right up to his blessed end, smiling frequently. In such moments it’s best for all mortal flesh to keep silence. But if you have to say something say this: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’”

Eric Peterson had shared an update about his father’s health status a week before, describing the author’s “sudden and dramatic turn” and the family’s decision to offer palliative care for his remaining days.

“It feels fitting that his death came on a Monday, the day of the week he always honored as a Sabbath during his years as …

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