Billy Graham, millions' evangelist and presidents' advisor, dies at 99
Montreat (US): Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counsellor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died on Wednesday. He was 99.
Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina, spokesman Mark DeMoss told The Associated Press. More than anyone else, Graham built evangelicalism into a force that rivaled liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in the United States. His leadership summits and crusades in more than 185 countries and territories forged powerful global links among conservative Christians, and threw a lifeline to believers in the communist-controlled Eastern bloc. Dubbed "America's pastor," he was a confidant to US presidents from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush.
In 1983, President Reagan gave Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour. When the Billy Graham Museum and Library was dedicated in 2007 in Charlotte, former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton attended. "When he prays with you in the Oval Office or upstairs in the White House, you feel he's praying for you, not the president," Clinton said at the ceremony.