A Mozambican pastor has died after attempting to fast for 40 days, hoping to complete the same fast Jesus did in the Bible.
The BBC reported that Francisco Barajah, the founder of the Santa Trindade Evangelical Church, had gone 25 days without food or water at his death. As a result, he had lost so much weight he could not stand up. Relatives and members of his congregation urged him to go to the hospital, and he was later evacuated to a hospital in Beira. When he arrived, doctors deemed him in critical condition.
The 39-year-old was diagnosed with acute anemia and failure of his digestive organs. Doctors tried to rehydrate him with serums, hoping it would help transition the pastor to liquid foods. But they were too late. He died Wednesday.
Barajah’s brother, Marques Manuel Barajah, confirmed the pastor fasted but disagreed with the diagnosis.
“The truth is that my brother suffered from low blood pressure,” he said, the BBC reported.
According to Insider, it’s unclear how long Barajah would have lasted without food or water. As reported by the outlet, the Guinness World Record for the longest time a human has gone without either is 18 days — an Australian teenager holds the world record after he was forgotten by police after being put in a holding cell in 1979.
Multiple reports of people losing their lives while attempting to emulate Christ’s 40-day fast have occurred. As the BBC noted, in 2015, a Zimbabwean man died after 30 days, and in 2006, a British coroner found a woman after around 20 days of a similar fast in London.
Barajah was a valued member of his community. In addition to his work in the church, he was a French teacher in Messica, a town close to the Zimbabwe border.