The Voice of the Martyrs has announced the passing of their executive director, Tom White.
"All of our hearts are heavy at this loss, and most of all heavy for Ofelia, Tom's loyal help-mate through years of ministry... and for his children and grandchildren," ministry leaders said in a statement on the VOM website.
White led VOM, a ministry that helps support the persecuted Church, for more than 20 years. He was a native of Bartlesville, Okla., where the ministry is based.
Prior to serving as executive director, White worked alongside VOM founders Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand.
He taught English in the Cayman Islands in the late 1970s, and made numerous airplane flights over Cuba, dropping hundreds of thousands of gospels tracts over the island nation.
In May 1979, White's private plane crashed on a Cuban highway after being caught in a storm.
He was captured and sentenced to 24 years in prison, where he experienced brutal treatment from the secret police.
Christians prayed and many letters and appeals for his release were sent to Fidel Castro from U.S. congressmen, Mother Teresa, and Christians around the world.
White was freed from prison October 27, 1980. His Cuban prison experience is detailed in his book, God's Missiles Over Cuba.
VOM leaders have asked that Christians around the world pray for White's wife Ofelia, and for his children and grandchildren at this time.
Additional information about memorials and services will be announced by VOM at the appropriate time.