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BREAKING: Billy Graham dies at age 99

Billy Graham, one of the world’s most famous Christian evangelists, has died, a family spokesman said today.

Mark DeMoss says Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday morning. He was 99.

The counselor to presidents, shared the gospel of Jesus Christ to nearly 215 million people in live audiences in more than 185 countries and territories.

Hundreds of millions more have been reached through radio, television, film, books and the internet.

Billy Graham gave his heart to Jesus Christ at 16. His profound conversion happened under the ministry of traveling evangelist Mordecai Ham.

Answering God’s call to the ministry, he was ordained in 1939 by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention.  Raised on a dairy farm during the Depression, he developed a strong work ethic, a work ethic that is quite evident through six decades of ministry.

He graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois, where he met and married his wife, Ruth.

“All I remember is going back home and kneeling down that night and saying, Lord, if you’d let me spend the rest of my life with that man, I would consider it the greatest privilege,” Ruth Graham once said. “And fortunately, I didn’t know what I was praying.  If I’d know what lay ahead, I wouldn’t have had the nerve to pray a prayer like that.”

Billy Graham gained his primary evangelistic experience on radio, and then through Youth for Christ, an organization founded to minister to young people and servicemen during World War II.

Following the war, Graham preached throughout the United States and Europe.

His ministry with Youth for Christ opened doors for a series of interdenominational city-wide campaigns in the late 40s.

VIDEO: Billy Graham’s Life

Additional Reporting by Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) News.

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