Eldred G. Smith Dead: Former Mormon Church Patriarch Dies At 106

04/07/2013 10:23 pm ET | Updated Apr 08, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY -- Elder Eldred G. Smith, the oldest Mormon church general authority and oldest known Utahn, has died at the age of 106.

Smith, who was born in Lehi, died Thursday night.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement praising him as a "valued friend" and "respected leader."

During his 32 years as church patriarch, he traveled to every continent and gave more than 18,000 blessings. He had been an emeritus church patriarch since 1979.

Provo's Daily Herald reports he had five children, 24 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great grandchildren as of a year ago.

KSL reports he was the most long-lived general authority in the church's history. Smith celebrated his 106th birthday on Jan. 9.

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