Scientology leader David Miscavige's dad Ron dies aged 85

Scientology leader David Miscavige’s estranged father Ron dies from cancer aged 85 after defecting from the church and declaring his son ‘manipulative, coercive and evil’

  • Ron Miscavige died at his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Monday about a week after his health started deteriorating rapidly 
  • The 85-year-old had been battling health issues, including cancer, for the past five years 
  • Ron, who had four children from his first marriage, had been a harsh critic of Scientology ever since leaving the church in 2012 after more than 40 years
  • He had made it his life’s mission to criticize the organization and his son David, who he often described as Scientology’s ‘corrupt leader’, ever since he left 
  • Ron’s second wife Becky revealed news of his death on Facebook, saying he died while she was reading him letters sent in by his supporters 
  • In recent weeks, Becky had shared several photos of Ron on social media that shed light on his declining health 

Scientology leader David Miscavige’s estranged father Ron, who became the church’s most prominent defector, has died aged 85 following a battle with cancer.

The elder Miscavige died at his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Monday about a week after his health started deteriorating rapidly.

Ron’s wife Becky, who he was married to for 31 years, revealed news of his death on Facebook, saying he died while she was reading him letters sent in by his supporters. 

In recent weeks, Becky had shared several photos of Ron on social media that shed light on his declining health. 

He had been battling health issues, including cancer, for the past five years and a GoFundMe was set up last month to help cover his funeral costs. 

It was not immediately clear how long Ron had been battling cancer.  

Scientology leader David Miscavige’s estranged father Ron, who is the church’s most prominent defector and wrote a scathing memoir in 2016, died on Monday aged 85 following a battle with cancer

The elder Miscavige died at his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Monday about a week after his health started deteriorating rapidly. His wife Becky posted this photo last week with his rescue cat

Ron, who had four children from his first marriage, had been a harsh critic of Scientology ever since leaving the church in 2012 after more than 40 years. 

He was immediately shunned by his church-leading son David after defecting from Scientology.   

The church, nor his son, have commented publicly about Ron’s death.   

At the time of his death, Ron was only in contact with one of his four children – his son Ron Jr. who is the only one not still involved with the church. 

He had previously claimed that David had banned him from making contact with his two daughters, Denise and Lori, after leaving.   

Ron had made it his life’s mission to criticize the organization and his son David, who he often described as Scientology’s ‘corrupt leader’, ever since he left.  

In his 2016 memoir, which is one of the most comprehensive take-downs of the church in its history, Ron wrote that his son had turned Scientology into something that was ‘manipulative, coercive and, in my mind, evil’.

David has ruled the church for decades ever since taking control after Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard died in 1986. 

Ron, who grew up in Pennsylvania, served in the Marines after graduating high school and studied music theory at the Naval School of Music. 

Ron’s wife Becky, who he was married to for 31 years, revealed news of his death on Facebook, saying he died while she was reading him letters sent in by his supporters. They are pictured in February 2020

Ron (sitting at the front) had four children with his first wife Loretta Miscavige. His son David is pictured standing behind him. Ron and his children stayed in the church for more than quarter of a century until his son Ron Jr. quit in 2000. Ron left the church in 2012

After leaving the church, Ron made it his life’s mission to criticize the organization and his son David (above in 2017), who he often described as Scientology’s ‘corrupt leader’

He married his first wife, Loretta Miscavige, back in 1957.

The couple went on to have four children – David, Ron Jr., Denise and Lori – who they raised in New Jersey.

It was there that Ron worked for a time as a salesman.

He was first introduced to Scientology while attending a marketing sales scheme meeting back in 1969 and started attending weekly meetings.

Ron brought his son David to a session that same year so a spiritual counselor could try and treat the boy’s asthma.

When his son stopped having asthma attacks, the Miscavige family became instant Scientology believers.

The family ended up going to the UK twice to study with Hubbard.

Their son David dropped out of school at the age of 16 to join the Sea Org – the Church’s inner core workforce.

Hubbard soon saw Miscavige’s potential and he rapidly rose through the church ranks. David was groomed as Hubbard’s successor for years. When he officially took over leadership, a year after Hubbard’s death, he was just 26.

Before David took over as leader, Ron had called him asking for help in 1985 after he was arrested for attempted rape and indecent assault. 

Ron denied the allegations and the charges were later dropped when the victim couldn’t identify him. 

In his 2016 memoir, which is one of the most comprehensive take-downs of the church in its history, Ron wrote that his son had turned Scientology into something that was ‘manipulative, coercive and, in my mind, evil’. Ron and wife Becky are pictured in Wisconsin in 2016

Ron was the church’s most prominent defector and regularly spoke out about his son David. He is pictured on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2016

After his son sent him money and lawyers to help with his case, Ron joined the Sea Org as well and stayed for the next three decades.

Ron and his first wife split in the late 80s and he married his second wife Becky, who worked in Scientology’s marketing department, in 1990.

His first wife died in 2005.  

He went on to work at Golden Era Productions – the Scientology wing that created music and videos to spread its word – where he composed church album music and materials.

Ron and his children stayed in the church for more than quarter of a century until his son Ron Jr. quit in 2000.

In his memoir, Ron detailed how his relationship with David deteriorated after his son started berating his work.

He said his son would often call him a ‘motherf****r’ and ‘c***sucker’ in front of groups of people.

Ron said he eventually decided to leave the church in 2006 but he and Becky took another five years working up the courage.

In 2011 they finally put their plan, which they described as being like something out of ‘Mission Impossible’, into action. They left the base pretending they were going to the music studio.

Ron spent the following years denouncing Scientology and revealed around 2021 that a private detective who was arrested for stalking him had claimed to police that he’d been hired by David. 

After his arrest in Wisconsin, the private investigator said David Miscavige wanted him to survey his father 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   

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