SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Today, a Salt Lake City-based Church is celebrating the 99th birthday of its leader, President Russell M. Nelson.
Coincidentally, President Nelson, born in 1924, celebrated his 99th birthday on 9/9 (Sept. 9), according to a press release. He has served as the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2018 when he was 93 years old.
President Nelson is a father of 10 children and grandfather to over 50 grandchildren. Prior to becoming the leader of the Church, he was known for his work as a prominent heart surgeon.
The Church previously said President Nelson is only the second leader to be called a president for the Church while over the age of 90, the first being Joseph Fielding Smith. He became the oldest president of the Church in 2022 at 97 years, seven months, and six days old.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, who died in 2008, was previously the title holder for the oldest Church president, according to a previous press release.
The Church released a video in celebration of the leader entering his 100th year of life. The video shows clips and photos from his early years until now, with everything from family memories to him standing with Pope Francis in 2019.
To commemorate his 99th birthday, the president met with his family and First Presidency counselors to take photos together in the Salt Lake City Church Administration Building, the press release said. The Church said he has a “display of birthday cards and greetings” in his office sent from friends, acquaintances, and members of the Church.
While the stamina and energy of the 99-year-old have been praised by many, earlier this summer President Nelson posted on social media addressing a “rumor that someone saw [him] somewhere using a walker or a wheelchair.”
He said it was true, citing “a small challenge with [his] balance” as the reason for the walker. He continued the post by writing, “Gratefully, my heart is good, my spirit is strong as are my legs, and my brain still works.”
President Nelson said the balance issues shouldn’t be a surprise since he is nearing the century mark, however, it “should be the least of our worries.”
The President is expected to address members of the Church next month in the semi-annual global church conference.