The Reverend Billy Graham Has Passed Away At 99

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The Reverend Billy Graham Has Passed Away At 99

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Billy Graham, one of the world's most famous Christian ministers, has passed away at age 99.

A spokesman for the reverend's Evangelistic Association said Graham died at his mountaintop cabin in Montreat, North Carolina on Wednesday morning.

A representative for his son Franklin's organization, Samaritan's Purse, reported that Graham was surrounded by family when he died just before 8 a.m.

While a cause of death was not reported immediately, Ted Shearer of DeMoss Associates told Fox News the reverend had died from natural causes.

Graham had been ill and withdrawn from the public eye for many years now. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1992, and hospitalized for pneumonia in 2011.

Graham spoke before his last revival meeting in New York in 2005, at age 86.

Graham at his famous Los Angeles Crusade in 1949.LA TImes

Born on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Caroline, Graham was drawn to preaching at age 16, when he listened to a traveling evangelist.

He was ordained in 1939, and went on to become one of the world's most popular and well-known Christian ministers.

His Evangelistic Association estimates that Graham personally preached to more than 210 million people in 185 countries, with millions more receiving message of faith in magazines, radio programs, Christian television broadcasts, and over the internet.

Condolences and celebration for Graham have poured in from around the world following news of his death, including from the president and vice president.

In a tweet, President Trump eulogized the reverend as "the GREAT Billy Graham."

"There was nobody like him!" the president wrote. "He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man."

In a statement, Vice President Pence praised Graham and his ministry, saying their "matchless voice changed the lives of millions."

Graham was a close friend and counsel to a number of American presidents, and prayed with every one from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama.

The reverend also spoke at funeral services for two presidents: Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Along with the incredible number of people Graham reached in his career, he is also remembered for integrating his worship services in the 1950s.

The civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been."

Graham's millions of viewers also remember him for his humorous preaching style, and for his non-partisan view of Christianity.

"My one purpose in life," Graham once said, "is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ."

Rest in peace.

[Sources: BBC, NBC News, Fox News]

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