Breaking away a bit from our usual technology coverage, we heard the sad news tonight that LDS church prophet Gordon B. Hinckley passed away at age 97, after leading the church for more than twelve years. Hinckley presided over the church in a time of significant growth, missionary outreach, and temple building world-wide. He also was easily the most visible Mormon prophet to date, showing incredible media poise, appearing on CNN's Larry King Live several times during his presidency.
(See transcripts from: 1998 and 2001 or the 2004 video from YouTube)
For those unfamiliar with the Mormon faith in general, Hinckley held the highest position in the church, behind only the Godhead, of course, and could be considered the equivalent of the pope for the Catholic church. Hinckley was a member of the First Presidency, with both a first and second counselor, heading the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, paralleling the organization of the New Testament times.
In my time as a member of the church, since birth in 1977, I've seen four prophets, starting with Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, and Hinckley. While Hinckley was the oldest president in church history, he was well-known for his optimistic spirit and upbeat attitude, even as he was in his mid-90s. We will certainly miss him, even though we know the church remains in good hands.
For more information on Gordon B. Hinckley, see LDS.org or Wikipedia.