‘America’s Preacher’, Billy Graham is dead
Billy Graham, counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died at age 99.
Graham had been treated in recent years for cancer, pneumonia and other ailments.
The spokesman Mark DeMoss confirmed that the Rev. Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, N.C.
His message and service to U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush earned him the nickname “America’s Pastor.”
In 1995 his Evangelistic Association designated his son William Franklin Graham III as the ministry’s leader.
His wife, Ruth, died in 2007. Mr. Graham reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio.
He preached a simplified Protestant message about sin and especially redemption. He did so without rancor and, especially in later years, without much emphasis on the prospect of hell fire.
His voice rang out, insistent and resonant in the drawl of his native North Carolina. He used the same artful persuasion that once had made him a top Fuller-brush salesman.
“I’m selling the greatest product in the world,” Mr. Graham said in 1954. “Why shouldn’t it be promoted as well as soap?”