Well-known Rev. Billy Graham has died at the age of 99. The breaking news was reported on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, after his death was confirmed by spokesman Mark DeMoss. Graham died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina after a long bout of illnesses including cancer, pneumonia, and other ailments. During the last decade, the popular evangelist suffered from Parkinson's disease and broken bones he received during a fall. His beloved wife, Ruth, died in 2007.

About Billy Graham

Billy Graham was the world's best-known evangelist and was considered to be America's pastor.

That's because he was a spiritual adviser to at least 12 Presidents of the United States from President Harry Truman to President Barack Obama. He was very close to President Dwight Eisenhower. Former President George W. Bush credits Graham for helping him turn away from drinking when he was young.

Graham began preaching when he was 16 years old and reached more than 214 million people through his appearances in 195 cities, and millions more through his radio and television programs. After almost six decades of preaching and teaching all over the country and to places as far away as Moscow, he called his preaching tours "crusades." His last crusade was in June 2005 in New York City that was sponsored by 82 denominations and about 1,400 churches.

A crowd of over 242,000 attended, and 8,786 people committed their lives to Christ and thousands more said their faith was restored. Graham leaves behind 30 books and hundreds of videos and televised sermons that are part of the legacy of his ministry and what he stood for.

Why Graham was different

Evangelist Graham was different from many traditionist preachers because he never focused on himself.

He did not preach for fame or fortune. Instead of calling for followers unto himself, he focused on leading people to God and the saving power of Jesus Christ. His message was one of hope and peace. That's why presidents and other religious leaders called on him during times of their own turmoil.

The Rev. Billy Graham never built a megachurch even though he could have.

The world was his church. He never ran for public office even though he met with and prayed for presidents and other politicians. He was not partial toward those he ministered to whether they were Republicans or Democrats. He was more concerned about their souls than about their political views.

The Billy Graham Evangelist Association

It is not unusual for preachers to turn their ministries over to their sons after they retired. In 1995, his son William Franklin Graham III became the leader of The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. However, the messages of Franklin Graham are different from his father's. Some of the public never accepted Franklin the way they accepted Billy Graham.