LDS Church President Thomas Spencer Monson died Tuesday night at his home at the age of 90.
Monson, who became the 16th president of the church in 2008, died shortly after 10 p.m. of age-related causes.
As president, Monson was considered a “prophet, seer and revelator” by the rest of the church. He started serving the church at an early age as a bishop in his 20s, presiding over a mission in his early 30s and finally being called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age 36 in 1963.
Following the church’s announcement of Monson’s death Tuesday, local leaders expressed their condolences and mentioned what Monson meant to Utah and the Mormon community.
“Jeanette and I join millions of people around the world in mourning the death of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement released Wednesday. “His life was a sermon of service. He cared for all people as children of God. The state of Utah and its citizens are better people because of his example of kindness, his personal ministry and his visionary leadership.”
During his tenure, the church faced intense public scrutiny as it dealt with questions on same-sex marriage, same-sex couples and baptising their children. During his first year, the church backed California’s Proposition 8, the ballot measure that defined marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. Church members raised about $20 million to support the ballot measure’s passing, but it drew national criticism as well as protests at LDS temples.
In 2012, the church also faced numerous questions amid prominent Mormon Mitt Romney’s presidential run.
That same year, Monson also introduced the new church policy that lowered the age of full-time missionaries from 19 to 18 for men and 21 to 19 for women. The change increased the number of full-time missionaries and spawned nearly 60 new missions, according to a Salt Lake Tribune article.
Recently, Monson also spoke out as an advocate for helping the homeless around Salt Lake as the city grappled with the growing population.
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of President Thomas S. Monson,” Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said. “Over the past few years, as Salt Lake City has dealt with critical issues, most notably homelessness, the LDS Church has responded with a high level of compassion and resolve set clearly by President Monson and his deep concern for those less fortunate. We have lost a dedicated partner to the Capitol City and he will be missed.”
House speaker Greg Hughes also expressed his condolences Wednesday.
“I was saddened to learn that President Thomas Monson has passed away,” Hughes said in a statement. “While we mourn the loss of an exceptional man, we also honor his remarkable life that he dedicated to serving others. When he spoke, people all over Utah, the country and the world listened. He truly understood that when you are in the service of your fellow man you are in the service of God. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and members of the LDS church during this time.”
Monson’s last appearance at the biannual General Conference was last April. Following that appearance where he delivered two short sermons, Monson was admitted to a hospital complaining of fatigue and exhaustion. He did not appear at the fall General Conference.
Signs of Monson’s deteriorating condition were first announced in 2015 at the age of 87. At the time, the church announced Monson was starting to feel the “effects of advancing age.”
Per church rules, a successor is not expected to be announced till after Monson's funeral services. Funeral arrangements were pending as of Wednesday morning.
Russell M. Nelson, who has served as the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 2015, was named the church’s 17th president on Tuesday, Jan. 16.