Scientology chief's father has cancer — and is raising money on GoFundMe for his funeral: report
20/20 screengrab.

The father of the leader of the Church of Scientology is turning to strangers to raise money to pay for his funeral, according to a new report.

"In 2012, Ron Miscavige made a clever and daring escape with his wife Becky Bigelow from Scientology's secretive 'Int Base,' where the two of them had been living as 'Sea Org' workers," veteran journalist Tony Ortega reports. "What made Ron's escape more notable than the others from the base was that his own son, David Miscavige, was Scientology's leader. Ron had run away from his own son's 'church' compound."

Ron Miscavige went on to write the 2016 book, Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me.

Ortega, who has been reporting on Scientology since 1995, reports he has been communicating with Ron Miscavige for years, broke news about the Scientology chief's father.

"And now, it's time for more surprising news from Ron. He's been battling cancer, and he's recently taken a turn for the worse. To the point that he and Becky are preparing for what comes next. Namely, that even with their insurance accounts, Ron is concerned that Becky won't have enough to cover a funeral. So, they are turning to the public for help. And that's where we come in," he explained.

"Ron's close friend Rick Shaw wanted us to know that he had collaborated with Ron on a new song, and that Geoff Levin helped with guitars and mixing. 'I called it 'Ron's theme,' Rick says, 'but he calls it 'I'm happy.'' Rick set up a GoFundMe account yesterday, and asked us to post a link to it and this video of the song, which contains some wonderful scenes from Ron's life, particularly since he escaped Scientology and reunited with good friends," Ortega reported.

As of publication, the effort had raised over $7,500 towards a goal of $15,000.

Ortega explained why Ron Miscavige can't go to his son for help.

"After Ron ditched Scientology in 2012, and knowing how much Ron knew about Scientology and Dave's authority over it, the church leader unleashed a years long and vicious campaign of "Fair Game" against his own father. Besides setting up anonymous websites to smear his dad, David Miscavige also set private investigators on him," Ortega reported. "A couple of PIs were being paid $10,000 a week to stalk Ron on behalf of Scientology when they were arrested in 2013 on unrelated charges and ended up spilling their guts about the operation. They had placed tracking devices on Ron's car, had followed him wherever he went, and tried always to keep out of sight so Ron wouldn't know he was being followed."

Watch Ron Miscavige on ABC's 20/20 in 2016:

20/20 Scientology: A Father's Story | Ron Miscavige Interview [2020 FULL DOCUMENTARY]

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tony Ortega formerly worked as executive editor of Raw Story. He is the co-author, with Paulette Cooper, of the 2018 book, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard's dangerous 'religion'.