• Mary Harrison

Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99

The Rev. Billy Graham, world-renowned Christian evangelist, died peacefully at his home in Montreal, N.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Graham was the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and preached at meetings all around the world during his career. He is also known for his message of unity - between people and denominations.

Billy Graham was born on Nov. 7, 1918, Fox News reports. After becoming a Christian as a teenager and going to college, he was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister in 1939.

In 1943, Rev. Graham married his wife Ruth, who died in 2007. In the late 1940’s, Graham held a series meetings, which he called a crusade, in Los Angeles, and was launched into public view because of its attendance. The event lasted for eight weeks, according to Fox News.

For the rest of his life, Graham traveled around the world with his crusades, proclaiming that “Christ died for [our] sins.” According to USA Today, his 417th and final 2005 crusade in New York City attracted 242,000 people and was supported by “churches from 82 denominations.” According to Fox News, Graham “preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history”: an estimated 215 million, not counting those who he reached through TV, radio, and other media.

Rev. Graham began the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, penned 33 books, according to Fox News, and counseled every American President, “from Dwight Eisenhower to Barrack Obama.”

Graham’s awards include a Congressional Gold Medal (1996), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1983), and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

According to NBC, Billy Graham will be buried on March 2 next to his wife at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C. All U.S. flags will be flown at half-staff on that day, according to President Trump’s orders.

"My home is in Heaven,” NBC reports Rev. Graham often stated, “I'm just traveling through this world."