Iconic Evangelist Billy Graham Dies at 99
One of the world's best known Christian evangelists, Billy Graham, died today at his home in North Carolina at the age of 99.
Graham rose to prominence post-WWII with a message that got people's attention; fighting the spread of communism. He also was a visionary where using media was concerned. Whether it was newspaper coverage of his revival meetings, or his Hour of Decision program which initially aired on radio and then moved to television, his comprehension of the importance of media was groundbreaking.
He eventually formed Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) which opened offices around the world and published magazines, books, records, tapes and films. Graham had many books which ended up on bestseller lists throughout his career. His Billy Graham Crusades preached to over 210 million people around the globe.
Graham was an adviser to many U.S. presidents including: Eisenhower, Nixon, Johnson, Ronald Reagan and both senior and junior Bushes. George W. Bush even credited Billy Graham for his White House win.
His reign as superstar evangelist included numerous awards and honors, including the Congressional Gold Medal and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award. A Time magazine reporter once even referred to him as the "Pope of Protestant America".
But Graham's life and career was not free of controversy, he was well-known for having somewhat archaic views on feminism, involved himself in the politics of the Vietnam War with a secret 13-page letter to President Nixon in 1969, and engendered criticism from both conservative and liberal religious elements.
Graham had been in declining health for years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1989. He also was suffering from fluid on the brain and prostate cancer. When pondering his own mortality in 2005 Graham said, "I look forward to death with great anticipation. I'm looking forward to seeing God face-to-face and that could happen any day."