Evangelist Billy Graham has passed away at 99 years old. Graham died at 8am local time on Wednesday at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, according to Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Graham has been called one of the most influential preachers of the 20th century. He held large indoor and outdoor rallies with sermons which were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast into the 21st century. In his six decades of television, Graham hosted annual Billy Graham Crusades, which ran from 1947 until his retirement in 2005.
He also hosted the popular radio show Hour of Decision from 1950 to 1954. He repudiated segregation and, in addition to his religious aims, helped shape the worldview of a huge number of people coming from different backgrounds leading them to find a relationship between the Bible and contemporary secular viewpoints. Graham preached to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including BMS World Mission and Global Mission. He also reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and webcasts
Dubbed "the presidents' preacher", Mr Graham became the de facto White House chaplain to several US presidents, most famously Richard Nixon. He also met with scores of world leaders and was the first noted evangelist to take his message behind the Iron Curtain.
At the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., in June 2007, former President Bill Clinton said of Mr. Graham, "When he prays with you in the Oval Office or upstairs in the White House, you feel like he is praying for you, not the president."
US president Donald Trump pays his tribute when he writes: "The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man."
Billy Graham summed up his life's mission well when he said, "An evangelist is called to do one thing, and one thing only: to proclaim the Gospel."