Billy Graham, TV Evangelist, Dead at 99

The Reverend Billy Graham, a pioneer of TV evangelism who was known as “America’s pastor,” has died at the age of 99.

According to the Associated Press, Graham’s death followed battles with cancer, pneumonia and other various illnesses. He passed away on Wednesday morning in his North Carolina home.

Graham was regarded as one of the most influential preachers of the 20th Century. He began hosting the Billy Graham Crusades in 1947. The annual event was broadcast on television through his retirement in 2005.

In 1950, Graham launched the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, as well as his weekly radio show Hour of Decision, which aired internationally for more than 50 years. The BGEA also produced a series of mission TV specials which aired across the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to his work as a televangelist, Graham was a spiritual adviser for every sitting president, beginning with Harry Truman. He was also friends with Queen Elizabeth, and was recently portrayed by actor Paul Sparks (House of Cards) in Season 2 of Netflix’s The Crown.

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