Renowned Christian apologist and preacher Norm Geisler has died after a short illness.

The 86 year old stepped back from ministry in April amid "health concerns".

On his Facebook page, his family posted: "It is with great sadness that we share this news that Norm Geisler passed away peacefully this morning. He has left behind an amazing legacy that will continue to have a ripple effect for many years to come."

Geisler founded Southern Evangelical Seminary, one of the USA's most respected teaching colleges.

Described as a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham, Geisler authored over 100 books and taught theology, philosophy, and apologetics for over 50 years.

Many respected figures of the Christian community  are expressing their condolences.

His funeral will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina at 3 p.m. on Saturday 6th July.