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Rev. Billy Graham points to heaven as he preaches at the Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade June 25, 2005 in Flushing, New

MONTREAT, North Carolina, February 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – World-famous American evangelist preacher Billy Graham has died.

William Franklin Graham Jr. was born on November 7, 1918 and raised on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina. He converted to evangelical Christianity at the age of 16 during a revival meeting in 1934. 

A member of the Southern Baptist church, Graham was the best-known American preacher of the 20th century and a spiritual advisor to every American president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. He counted Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and especially Lyndon B. Johnson as his friends. 

He was outspoken and uncompromising on hot-button moral issues, including abortion, assisted suicide, and homosexuality. He defended marriage as between one man and one woman. He defended the sanctity of life of the preborn. 

Graham’s mission began in the 1940s, and he became internationally famous for his annual Billy Graham Crusades. Although he preached on television for sixty years, it was his ministry to live audiences, through mass rallies, that caught international attention. Graham preached in over 185 countries to live audiences totaling almost 215 million people. 

By 2008, Graham’s estimated total audience was over 2.2 billion. 

Graham was involved in a number of important social justice causes, including civil rights for African Americans. From 1953 his revivals and crusades were racially integrated, and in 1957 he invited Martin Luther King Jr. to preach with him at a revival in New York City. Graham also bailed King out of jail in the 1960s. 

Graham retired from television preaching in 2013 at the age of 95. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease since 1992.