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Popular US preacher, Billy Graham, dies at 99 

 

American Reverend Billy Graham – one of the most influential preachers of the 20th Century – has died aged 99.

The clergyman, who counselled presidents and preached to millions across the world, died on Wednesday at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) at his home in North Carolina, according to Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

According to his ministry, he preached to more people than anyone else in history, reaching hundreds of millions of people either in person or via TV and satellite links.

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Graham became one of the best-known promoters of Christianity, preaching to audiences worldwide in large arenas, beginning in London in 1954.

Over 60 years, he is estimated to have personally preached to 210 million people.

At first sceptical of the civil rights movement in the US, he went on to become a supporter in the 1950s.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. counted Graham as a close friend and ally, once remarking, “Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been.”

Graham became a committed Christian at the age of 16 after hearing a travelling evangelist and was ordained a minister in 1939.

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“My home is in Heaven,” he habitually said. “I’m just travelling through this world.”

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