Billy Graham, one of the world's most famous Christian evangelists, has died, a family spokesman said today. He was 99. Graham died at his North Carolina home this morning, the spokesman said.

Known as "America's pastor," Graham was a key figure in the revival of the U.S. evangelical
Christian movement. The preacher began holding revival meetings in the 1940s and went on to become an adviser to several U.S. presidents. He had been in poor health in recent years, and had turned his international ministry over to son Franklin Graham.

  • He spoke to over 200 million people in his lifetime.
  • He met every American president starting with Harriet Truman all the way to Barrack Obama
  • He was a key figure in reviving the American evangelical movement.
  • He was the first Christian to preach publicly behind the iron curtain.
Despite numerous hospitalizations in recent years, Graham's work remained in the public eye late into his life. In 2011, around his 93rd birthday, he released what The Associated Press said was his 30th book, "Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well," on the subject of aging. Also in 2011, audio files documenting six decades of his ministry were put online in a searchable database. Graham brought evangelical Christianity into the mainstream.

As a spiritual adviser to U.S. presidents, he had great access to the White House. "Each one I've known long before they ever became president, been in their homes many times; always called them by their first names, until they became president," Graham said of several former presidents.

He was especially close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes. Bill Clinton turned to him after his much publicized sex scandal, and George W. Bush credited Graham with helping him to quit drinking alcohol. When asked how his life would be different if it were not for Billy Graham, George W. Bush said simply, "I wouldn't be president."

Donald and Melania Trump met Graham at the preacher's 95th birthday party in 2013, but they never met after Trump took office as president. The evangelist brought his "Billy Graham Crusades" around the world, preaching to more than 210 million people in 185 countries and territories. His largest such gathering drew 1 million people in Seoul, South Korea, in the 1970s.

Source: ABC news

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