BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Pastor Roger Spradlin of Valley Baptist Church has died at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer, the church announced in a social media post.

Spradlin was the founding pastor of Valley Baptist Church and had served as senior pastor for nearly 40 years before retiring in February.

Spradlin’s son, Andrew Spradlin, gave the heartbreaking news on the church’s social media platforms on Sunday:

On behalf of our family, it is with a heavy heart that I share with you that my dad, Pastor Roger, passed from this world and entered the presence of Jesus this morning while our church was singing “Goodness of God.” While we had some really great moments this past year, it was also filled with a lot of suffering. But God was merciful and answered our prayers as Dad has been at such peace and in such comfort over the last several weeks. He passed very peaceably and comfortably with my mom and some of the family by his side. We deeply mourn our loss, but also rejoice knowing that Dad is now in heaven with our wonderful Savior and many loved ones who have gone on before. Our entire family is so thankful for all of your love and prayers! We will be sending out the details of the funeral arrangements very soon.

Andrew Spradlin, Co-Senior Pastor of Valley Baptist Church

The pastor had reportedly been diagnosed with bile duct cancer last year.