Evangelist Billy Graham has died at the age of 99.
The well-known minister was born on November 7, 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He grew up with three siblings on a dairy farm during the Depression, graduated from the Florida Bible Institute and Wheaton College and became a Southern Baptist minister in 1939. Graham preached throughout the United States and Europe after World War II, emerging as a rising young evangelist.
In 1949, a series of revivalist meetings in Los Angeles launched the minister to international prominence. Graham conducted revivalist campaigns in America and across the globe from the 1950's through the 1990's. He wrote dozens of books as well, many of which have become top sellers. He said his one purpose in life was to help people find a personal relationship with God.
Billy Graham's counsel was sought by presidents, and he received many honors from both the secular and religious arenas. He received numerous honorary doctorates from institutions in the United States and abroad. His recognitions included the Congressional Gold Medal; the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion; and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award. Graham was regularly listed by the Gallup organization as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World."
He wrote several books and founded the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.
He retired at the age of 82 to spend more time with his wife, Ruth in North Carolina. Graham's son, Franklin Graham, then became head preacher of the ministry his father launched, and his daughter, Ann Graham Lotz, is also a preacher.
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