MONTREAT, N.C. (AP) – The Rev. Bill Graham, counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died at the age 99.
Spokesman Mark DeMoss says that Graham died early Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.
He had been treated in recent years for cancer, pneumonia and other ailments. His wife, Ruth, died in 2007. Graham reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio.
Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society. His message and service to U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush earned him the nickname “America’s Pastor.”
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association designated his son William Franklin Graham III as the ministry’s leader in 1995.