The Rev. Billy Graham , the Christian evangelist whose worldwide crusades and role as adviser to decades of U.S. presidents made him one of the best known religious figures of his time, died Wednesday at age 99 at his home in Montreat, N.C.
Graham, who had been in ill health for a number of years, was regularly listed in polls as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World.”
Shearer told Fox News that Graham died from “natural causes.”
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.
BREAKING NEWS: Evangelist Billy Graham has died pic.twitter.com/4f5iOnHYos
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“My one purpose in life,” he said, “is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”
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.
He remained active well into his 70s but in recent years had been slowed by Parkinson’s Disease and other medical problems.
His last crusade was in 2004. His elder son, Franklin, has long been expected to succeed his father as head of his ministry.