New Delhi, Feb 21: Billy Graham, the Christian evangelist who preached to more than 200 million people in 185 countries but especially know for consuling United States presidents, has passed away on Wednesday. He was 99 year-old. Also Read - Joe Biden Administration 'Undecided' On Ending Trump-Era H-1B Visa Ban
He died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.Graham had reduced his public appearances in the 1990s after developing Parkinson’s disease. He also suffered from hydrocephaly, or water on the brain, and prostate cancer. Also Read - This 10-Second Video Clip Has Been Sold For a Whopping Rs 48.4 Crore, What's Special About It?
He had extraordinary access to the White House over the years and served as spiritual adviser to many of presidents in their hour of need from Harry Truman to Barack Obama and even met Donald Trump before his presidential run. Also Read - Joe Biden Revokes Donald Trump's Visa Ban On Many Green Card Applicants, Says US Businesses Harmed
Leaders expressed admiration and respect for evangelist Billy Graham. In a tweet, President Donald Trump said, “The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.”
WHO IS BILLY GRAHAM?
Graham became one of the best-known promoters of Christianity, beginning his worldwide mission in large arenas in London in 1954. Born in 1918 and raised on his family’s dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina, Billy Graham became a committed Christian at the age of 16 after hearing a travelling evangelist. He was ordained a minister in 1939, aged 21. Graham’s public profile was raised in the United States when he held a two-month ministry in a giant tent in Los Angeles in 1949. His global mission took him to all corners of the world including Nigeria and communist North Korea.
An early sermon outside the US took place before 12,000 worshippers in 1954 in Haringay Arena, London. At first ambivalent about the civil rights movement in the US, he became more sympathetic in the 1950s, preaching to racially integrated congregations.
Graham avoided the scandals – sexual and financial – which dogged some contemporary televangelists through the decades. But his fiery delivery became more measured with advancing years and controversy surrounding the techniques of mass evangelism.
A social conservative, he opposed same-sex marriage and abortion. Graham preached his final revival meeting in New York in 2005 at the age of 86. As the end of his life approached, he said, “I know that soon my life will be over. I thank God for it, and for all He has given me in this life. But I look forward to Heaven.”