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Obama, Trump lead tributes celebrating the life of Billy Graham

Obama, Trump lead tributes celebrating the life of Billy Graham


Billy Graham was a popular American evangelist who converted millions to Christianity through his televised revival missions.

The 99 year old preacher who believed that ‘all men were lost and would face God’s judgement’ passed on today at his North Carolina home in the United States.

A family spokesman said he died from natural causes, as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed his death on Twitter.

The skinny preacher with the booming voice was famously known as ‘America’s pastor’ and prayed with every US president since Harry Truman.

Barack Obama and Donald Trump indeed led the tributes of the fallen preacher on social media.

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

“He was probably the dominant religious leader of his era,” said William Martin, author of “A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story.” “No more than one or two popes, perhaps one or two other people, came close to what he achieved.”

The media savvy evangelist

With his steely features and piercing blue eyes, Graham was a powerful figure when he preached in his prime, roaming the stage and hoisting a Bible as he declared Jesus Christ to be the only solution to humanity’s problems.

In his heyday Graham had a thunderous, quick-burst speaking style that earned him the nickname “God’s Machine Gun.” Through his “Crusades for Christ,” Graham sowed fields of devotion across the American heartland that would become fertile ground for the growth of the religious right’s conservative political movement.

His influence was fueled by an organization that carefully planned his religious campaigns, putting on international conferences and training seminars for evangelical leaders, Martin said.

Graham’s mastery of the media was ground-breaking. In addition to radio and publishing, he used telephone lines, television and satellites to deliver his message to homes, churches and theaters around the world.

Some 77 million saw him preach in person while nearly 215 million more watched his crusades on television or through satellite link-ups, a Graham spokeswoman said.

Graham and his wife, Ruth, who died June 14, 2007, had two sons and three daughters.

Graham concluded his career of religious campaigns in June 2005 in New York with a three-day stand that attracted more than 230,000 people, his organization said.

He turned over his evangelical association to his son Franklin, who did not shy away from politics and frequently praised Trump once he became president.

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