Christian evangelist Rev. Billy Graham has died at age 99.
Reports say Graham died of natural causes at his home in North Carolina.
Raised in the fundamentalist faith of his native North Carolina, Graham dedicated his life to Christ when he was 16, and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1939. He created his own brand of populist evangelism. His “crusades,” as he called them, were soon attracting millions in person and later through television.
In the summer of 2005, Graham preached at what he called his “Final Crusade.” Graham said: “Deep inside we need something else. And that something else can be brought about by Jesus.”
“When I touch the podium, I can feel a new strength and a new power come and it’s a thrilling thing for me to preach the gospel at this age,” Graham said.
The three-day event in New York City was the culmination of a lifetime of evangelism — seven decades of spreading the gospel to more than 200 million people in 185 countries around the world.
His message and service to U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush earned him the nickname “America’s Pastor.” In 1995 his Evangelistic Association designated his son William Franklin Graham III as the ministry’s leader.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)