Billy Graham passes on at the age of 99

From Harry Truman to Barack Obama, Billy Graham knew them all - attending the inaugurations of six presidents and delivering the invocations for two: George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Graham suffered from ill-health for a number of years.

It seemed an unlikely honor when Graham was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989 but the chairman of the selection committee said: "I can't think of anybody in the world who has used radio, television and motion pictures in a more positive way".

He reportedly died from natural causes at his home in Montreal, North Carolina, news reports confirmed on Wednesday.

Despite his conservative views, Billy Graham told Katie Couric in 2005 that he was a registered Democrat, adding that it doesn't determine the candidates he supports.

"He preached a strong sermon at that event", Bland said of Graham's appearance at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"Evangelist Billy Graham died today at 7:46 am ET at age 99", the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said on its website.

Both he and his wife were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1966.

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He also prayed with many Presidents and was especially close with Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

Speaking at the Washington National Cathedral three days after the 11 September attacks, Graham said he was struggling to find answers.

"Karen and I were saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Americans of the century, Reverend Billy Graham". This side of Christ's return the church will always need leaders and evangelists like Billy Graham'. Years later, Volosin wrote to Graham to thank him. After a California revival catapulted him to prominence in 1949, he became player on the evangelical stage. Billy Graham wasn't there, but Ruth was there, and we sat down and visited. She said Graham later counseled her when she was first lady and dealing with her husband's sex scandal involving White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1998. Billy Graham is the type of preacher Brian and I aspire to be.

For the evaluation and treatment of his lungs, he last admitted at Mission Hospital, Asheville, N. 2011.

In 1983, President Reagan gave Mr Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour.

In the royal chapel at Britain's Windsor Castle, he preached before Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. It also helped that Graham met his future wife, Ruth Bell, a fellow student and daughter of Presbyterian missionaries.

Evangelist Billy Graham at his first meeting at the Sports Stadium in Accra, Ghana, Jan. 24, 1960.

"He was not preaching what a pastor would normally preach to a church audience", said one of Graham's former classmates Glyn Evans in an interview with Shuster for the archive several years ago.

  • Delia Davidson