Motivational speaker and inspirational author Louise Hay passed away from natural causes at the age of 90. She was the founder of Hay House and a leading voice for self-help and the New Age movement. Her second book, You Can Heal Your Life, sold over 50 million copies worldwide. Many of her followers claim this book changed their lives. It’s the very book that launched her career in the ’80s and paved the way for many motivational speakers and life coaches.
Hay House, the publishing company she founded, confirmed her death but did not disclose the cause. According to her Facebook page, Hay passed away while surrounded by loved ones at her home on Wednesday, Aug. 30. Many popular names in the New Age and self-help categories shared their condolences on social media. They commented on how much Hay made an impact on their own lives and inspired them to start their careers.
Louise Hay not only has a series of books, but also a website dedicated to her famous positive “affirmations.” Her company organizes conferences and seminars that include psychics, clairvoyants, angel therapists, and holistic healers. Hay also paved the way for many life coaches to start their own businesses online. In addition, a streaming radio station called Hay House Radio was launched in 2005.
According to the L.A. Times, Hay House grossed $100 million in 2007. Hay is also an outspoken AIDS advocate. When the deadly disease was stigmatized in the ’80s, she would often invite gay men to her house where she would hold intimate meetings. The support group, which became known as Hayride, grew to a Wednesday night gathering of over 800 attendees, filling up an auditorium in West Hollywood.
According to an obituary of Hay, the meetings were “often the only time a person with AIDS might be touched, hugged or massaged with care, not rough disdain.” Hay would also preside the funerals of some AIDS patients because “Who else was going to do it?” she asked. She was criticized by the gay community for giving the impression that the disease could be cured with the feeling of love.
“Love is the most powerful stimulant to the immune system,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. “What we’re doing here is practicing love, unconditional love.”
Louise Hay was born on Oct. 8, 1926. Hay’s personal life and childhood were far from perfect. Hay stayed positive despite her struggles. She was bullied in school, abused by her stepfather, and raped by a neighbor when she was just 5 years old. She dropped out of high school and became pregnant. She gave up her daughter for adoption on her 16th birthday. Hay moved to New York, where she modeled and married Andrew Hay in 1954.
Hay left Louise for another woman 14 years later. To recover from her divorce, she started to visit the First Church of Religious Science, a metaphysical institution started by Raymond Charles Barker. She returned to California and founded the charity organization Hay House, which is home to many motivational speakers, authors, life coaches, and more. She left no immediate survivors.
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