A renowned Christian apologist, evangelist, and author, Ravi Zacharias died Tuesday morning at his home in Atlanta after a brief battle with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer at the age of 74.
His death was announced by Sarah Davis, his daughter, and CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, in a message posted at the ministry's website.
Born in the Indian city of Chennai, Zacharias came to faith in Christ through the ministry of youth for Christ when he attempted suicide when he was 17.
Following the family's relocation to Ontario, Canada, in the late 1960s, he studied at Ontario Bible College(now Tyndale University) and developed his passion for evangelism and Christian apologetics. He studied for an M.Div. under Norman Geisler and John Warwick Montgomery at Trinity Evangelical School and was ordained in the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
He served as associate professor of evangelism and contemporary at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York from 1980. The experience of raising the next generation and a conference of evangelists in Amsterdam made Zacharias feel he was being called to reach out to the intellectually resistant, especially those who would shape public opinion and policy.
By the financial support from the businessman David Dale, Zacharias was able to found his ministry, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) in 1984 and spent the greater part of his life defending Christianity. RZIM's motto gradually evolved, but its basic principle remained the same: to "help the thinker believe and the believer think." Now this ministry employs about 100 Christian scholars and authors in 15 countries.
Emerged as one of the leading exponents of the Christian apologetics, he launched his radio program, "Let My People Think," which reached more than 2,000 stations in 32 countries and has written 28 books, including, "Can Man Live Without God?" and his latest book, "Seeing Jesus from the East."
In 1992, he launched the Veritas Forum of Harvard University, and in 2004, he founded the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics at Oxford University marking a significant change in the apologetic landscape.
He also influenced politics and spoke to world leaders at the United Nations and He traveled around the world with many lectures and book interviews.
"It was his Savior, Jesus Christ, that my dad always wanted most to talk about. Even in his final days, until he lacked the energy and breath to speak, he turned every conversation to Jesus and what the Lord had done," Davis wrote in the statement of RZIM website. "He perpetually marveled that God took a 17-year-old skeptic, defeated in hopelessness and unbelief, and called him into a life of glorious hope and belief in the truth of Scripture -- a message he would carry across the globe for 48 years."
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Margie, his three children, and several grandchildren.