Christian evangelist Billy Graham passed away at age 99, NBC News reported Wednesday morning.
Graham was one of the most famous preachers of the 20th century and a close spiritual adviser to multiple American presidents. His large-scale evangelistic rallies, many of which were televised, featured plain-spoken explanations of the Christian message with calls to unbelievers to trust in Jesus for salvation.
The rallies, which came to be known as crusades, drew hundreds of thousands of people, and the television broadcasts reached many more. It is estimated that he spoke to more than 80 million people in person.
As American evangelist Billy Graham preaches to the congregation at Chongwenmen church Sunday, April 17, 1988, his words and gestures along with their fervor are translated into Chinese by Philip Teng. It was Graham’s first visit to China. REUTERS/Edward Nachtrieb
Graham was from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rev. Billy Graham praises Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush in a meeting with press in Jacksonville, Florida, November 5, 2000. Billy Graham’s son Franklin and Laura Bush look on. REUTERS
He identified himself with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. by bailing him out of jail after King had been arrested in the 1960s, and sought to racially integrate his rallies.
Rev. Billy Graham sits with first lady Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton at the head table during a prayer breakfast at the Washington Hilton hotel Feb 04, 1993. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
“When America needs a chaplain or pastor to help inaugurate or bury a president or to bring comfort in times of terrible tragedy, it turns, more often than not, to him,” Christianity Today wrote.