On February 21, the world lost the incomparable Reverend Billy Graham. At 99 years old, the Christian minister had changed the lives of millions of people, teaching them the ways of the Lord. Graham had been ill and withdrawn from the public eye for many years now.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 died of natural causes, according to Ted Shearer of DeMoss Associates, at his mountaintop cabin in North Carolina.
Preaching from the age 16, Graham devoted his life to bring others the news he knew to be true. It is believed that he preached to more than 210 million people in 185 countries, which doesn't include magazines, radio shows, television broadcasts, and internet readings.
One of the people who was touched by Graham was TODAY host Kathie Lee Gifford.
"My whole family came to faith through the Billy Graham Organization," Gifford told Megyn Kelly. "And I personally did, going to the first movie the Billy Graham Organization ever put out, it was called The Restless Ones. And it was like God met me, my heart, right where I lived! I wanted to be an actress. So where does God meet me? In a movie theater."
"My father is Jewish, my mom Christian, and although we didn’t have a devout home, it was just sort of an understanding of that Judeo-Christian tradition in our home," she continued. "It was Billy that connected the dots for me. Billy made the message simple enough for a little 12-year-old girl in the back of a movie theater to understand."
So why was it that Gifford thanked God after the passing of her dear friend Billy Graham?