Popular American evangelist, Billy Graham, is dead.
According to UK Guardian newspaper, the television evangelist died at his home in North Carolina, United States of America on Wednesday morning.
Graham also authored many books popular among Christians across the world including Nigeria.
He was 99 years old.
Born 7 November, 1918, he was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister, who, as Wikipedia puts it, rose to celebrity status in 1949 reaching a core constituency of middle-class, moderately conservative protestants.
According to the website, he held large indoor and outdoor rallies; sermons were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast today. In his six decades of television, Graham is principally known for hosting the annual Billy Graham Crusades, which he began in 1947, until he concluded in 2005. He also hosted the popular, Hour of Decision, from 1950 to 1954, “which would later be known as The Hour of Power, which was the longest-running religious show on television.”
Despite his evangelical fervor, Graham was close to the seat of power. In fact, he was, according to the report, a spiritual adviser to several American presidents; he was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson (who was considered to be one of Graham’s closest friends) and Richard Nixon. The report has it further: “He insisted on integration for his revivals and crusades in 1953 and invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City in 1957. Graham bailed King out of jail in the 1960s when King was arrested in demonstrations.”
Before his death, he was in retirement in his home in the mountains of North Carolina, managing his Parkinson disease. This was revealed way back in 1992 by the Billy Graham Evangelical movement: “It was diagnosed during a routine checkup at the Mayo Clinic. His early manifestations were a mild tremor that causes difficulty in handwriting and some difficulty in gait and in descending steps without a rail…”