J. Vernon McGee, who taught the "Thru the Bible" radio series on more than 600 stations in the United States and Canada during a 55-year ministry, died of heart failure at 84, ministry officials said.

McGee was the pastor of the downtown Los Angeles Church of the Open Door, famed for its rooftop neon "Jesus Saves" sign, for 21 years until 1970 when he gave up his pulpit to lecture at Bible conferences nationwide.