SOUTH BAY (CBSLA.com) — A well-known pastor in the South Bay has died unexpectedly, it was reported Friday.

Rev. Stephen Mays of Calvary Chapel South Bay passed away Thursday from complications during back surgery.

READ MORE: LAPD Breaks Up Large Party In South LA

Mays was vocal about being a former gang member and former drug addict who turned his life around.

He took over the church in the 1970s, which had 75 members at the time.

READ MORE: 'It's Just Not Working': Women In The Workforce Hit Hardest By Pandemic

Membership has since grown to 9,000 parishioners.

One church official said, “This is a day of sadness.”

MORE NEWS: Poet Amanda Gorman Says Security Guard Followed Her Home, Called Her 'Suspicious'

Mays was 64 years old.