MONTREAT – The ‘Protestant Pope,’ and the pride of North Carolina, evangelist Rev. Billy Graham passed away Wednesday of natural causes at his Montreat, North Carolina home at the age of 99.
One of the best known religious figures of his time, Graham served as an adviser to decades of U.S. Presidents and inspired the global Christian community with his worldwide crusades.
“His Christian crusades took him from the frenzy of Manhattan to isolated African villages and according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website, he preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history.
The BGEA put his lifetime audience at nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, with “hundreds of millions more” viewing him on television, video, film and webcasts.
“My one purpose in life,” he said, “is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”
Graham was last hospitalized in 2011 at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. for what was described as “evaluation and treatment of his lungs.” He was also hospitalized that year due to pneumonia.
William Franklin Graham Jr. was born Nov. 7, 1918 and raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte, N.C.
At 15, he made his personal commitment to Christ at a revival meeting in Charlotte. After attending Bob Jones College and the Florida Bible Institute, Graham was ordained a Southern Baptist clergyman in 1939.
In 1943, he graduated from Wheaton College, where he met fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, daughter of a medical missionary, who had spent the first 17 years of her life in China.
They married in August 1943 and had five children, 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
Ruth Graham died in June 2007 after 64 years of marriage.”
Read more about Rev. Graham’s incredible and inspiring life here.
Rest in peace, Rev. Graham.