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Renowned American Evangelist, Billy Graham, Dies At 99

Reverend Billy Graham, the influential Southern preacher who became a spiritual advisor to several US presidents and millions of Americans via their television sets, has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 99.

The one-time backwoods minister who eventually became the world’s foremost Christian evangelist, spread a message of spiritual redemption at tent and stadium revival meetings, in a career that spanned decades.

“Billy Graham is the closest thing to a national pope that we shall ever see,” journalist Garry Wills once wrote in The Washington Post.

Graham was a pioneer of “televangelism” to convert souls to Christianity as television got off the ground in the 1950s.

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Born on November 7, 1918, he was raised as one of four children on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Graham had a spiritual awakening in 1934 that changed the course of his life. He subsequently attended the Florida Bible Institute, now Trinity College of Florida, and was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1939.

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