The Christian founder of a worldwide house-building ministry, which has erected nearly 200,000 homes in 100 countries since 1976, died on Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 74.
Family and friends referred to Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, as a "true servant leader" with a "genuine heart" that was dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide.
"We are truly overwhelmed with the love and support from family, friends and supporters of my father's work from all over the country and the world," Fuller's son, Chris, said on behalf of the Fuller family.
"Despite the loss of a beloved husband, father and grandfather, our spirits are high. We know that Dad is in heaven now, and we will celebrate his life's accomplishments and continue to carry out his vision."
Fuller expanded his missionary vision for helping the poor build houses four years ago, when he opened the Fuller Center for Housing in Americus, Georgia.
He dedicated the Fuller Center as "a Christ-centered, faith-driven organization witnessing the love of God by providing opportunities for families to have a simple, decent place to live."
Fuller's many decades of philanthropy inspired a wide range of fans and supporters worldwide, including past U.S. presidents.
On Tuesday, former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement in which he called Fuller "one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known," according to a statement received by the Fuller Center.
"He used his remarkable gifts as an entrepreneur for the benefit of millions of needy people around the world by providing them with decent housing," Carter said. "As the founder of Habitat for Humanity and later the Fuller Center, he was an inspiration to me, other members of our family and an untold number of volunteers who worked side-by-side under his leadership."
In the past, former President Bill Clinton said he didn't think it was an exaggeration to say: "Millard Fuller has literally revolutionized the concept of philanthropy."
A viewing was held Tuesday night at the First Presbyterian Church in Americus, Ga., and funeral services were held Wednesday morning at Koinonia Farm in Americus, a Christian pacifist community dedicated to social justice. A memorial service in Fuller's honor is being planned for later this month.
Fuller is survived by his wife of 50 years, Linda Caldwell, their four children: Chris, Kim, Faith and Georgia, and nine grandchildren.
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