Internationally Renowned Evangelist Luis Palau Dies at 86

Luis Palau photo courtesy of LuisPalau.org

Internationally Renowned Evangelist Luis Palau Dies at 86

By Movieguide® Staff

Luis Palau, an evangelist often known as the Billy Graham of Latin America, died on Thursday at the age of 86, after years of battling Stage IV lung cancer.

“After a 3 year battle with lung cancer, Dad passed away today at his home in Portland, Oregon. We are heartbroken, yet full of hope and faith. We serve a good God who loves us tremendously,” his son Kevin Palau shared to the evangelist’s Twitter account.

According to Palau’s official obituary:

For more than 65 years, Palau played an influential role in Christian missions and worldwide evangelism as a powerful speaker, teacher, and author. His work took him to more than 80 nations and his campaigns allowed him to present a clear case for Christianity to an audience of more than 1 billion people through television, radio, print, and live events.

Standing strong for issues of faith and the importance of a vibrant, healthy spiritual life according to the teachings of the Bible, Palau was well regarded by leaders around the globe, including presidents, nobility, business leaders, and church clergy.

Originally from Argentina, Palau was born on November 27, 1934, in Ingeniero Maschwitz, a small town outside Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires. He became a follower of Jesus Christ at the age of 12, just two years after his father’s untimely death. Palau began preaching on street corners as a teenager and hosting his own Christian radio program by the age of 19. He was invited to the United States in 1960 by Ray Stedman, a pastor and missionary leader from Palo Alto, California, who met Palau while in Argentina and began mentoring him shortly thereafter. While studying at Multnomah School of the Bible (now Multnomah University) in Portland, Oregon, Luis met his wife, Patricia Scofield, and together they embarked on a life of missions – first going to Latin America and eventually to more than 80 nations around the world.

Palau was also the subject of a movie by the same name.

Movieguide® called PALAU: THE MOVIE “an encouraging biography about the life of Christian evangelist Luis Palau. Drawing from the example of his late father in Argentina, Luis becomes a Christian minister dedicated to share the good news with the people. Set in the 1940s to 1960s in South America, PALAU shows the struggle Christian missionaries faced during communist uprisings, and how the good news of Jesus can transcend any worldly ideology.”


Furthermore, “PALAU has a very strong Christian, biblical, evangelical worldview with depictions of prayers, reading the Bible, and sharing the Gospel. It also celebrates Christian parenting and focuses on the need to practice the Sabbath. PALAU has great costuming, a moving score that fits the onscreen action well, and a particularly captivating performance by lead actor Gastón Pauls as Luis Palau.”

Palau’s legacy lives on through his family and the countless people who came to Christ as a result of his preaching.

Luis was a friend of Dr. Ted Baehr.

Ted adds, “Since my wife Lili is Argentine, she and Luis had an affinity for each other. Also, the people who ran Luis’s ministry became close friends, whom we helped and who helped us. Luis was a great example of a faith-filled evangelist.”

Palau is survived by his wife, Patricia; his sons Kevin, Keith, Andrew, and Stephen; his daughters-in-law Michelle, Gloria, and Wendy; his sisters Matilde, Martha, Catalina, Margarita, and Ruth; his brother Jorge; 12 grandchildren; and many beloved extended family.

Many people and organizations shared their memories of Palau on social media.