Rev. Billy Graham has passed away. The famed evangelist, who was long known as “America’s Pastor,” died at his home in North Carolina of natural causes, a family spokesman told ABC News. Billy Graham was 99 years old and would have celebrated his 100th birthday in November.
Billy Graham was one of the most well-known Christian evangelists of all time and was widely regarded as the most influential preacher of the 20th century. In addition to hosting major rallies throughout his lifetime, Graham’s sermons were broadcast on radio and television for much of the 20th century. Billy Graham also spread his message through the multiple media and publishing outlets that he ran. According to the Billy Graham’s official website, he was the spiritual advisor to every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
It’s no surprise that political figures were among the first to post reaction to the death of Billy Graham. Donald Trump took to Twitter to remember Graham as “a very special man.” Barack Obama wrote that Graham “gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.”
In addition, the Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote, “Blessed with length of years and service, Rev. Graham helped a lot of people against a backdrop of Southern culture. He’s on the plus side of history. May his soul Rest In Peace.”
News station WMTW posted a statement about Billy Graham’s death from President George H.W. Bush. George and Barbra Bush were longtime friends of Graham. Bush reminisced about vacations in Maine with Graham and said the late pastor was a mentor to several of his children. Indeed, ABC noted that Bush’s son, George W. Bush, once said if it weren’t for Billy Graham’s help with his sobriety, he never would have become president.
Other television pastors, including Joel Osteen, also posted remembrances of Billy Graham on social media. Osteen described Graham as a “hero” in his home and said he was honored to call him both a friend and a mentor.
“Next to my own father, Reverend Graham was the most humble and gracious man I ever knew. I am honored to call him a friend and a mentor. Victoria and I will miss him dearly,” Osteen wrote.
Other celebrities including singer Charlie Daniels and the Today show’s Kathie Lee Gifford also mourned the death of Rev. Billy Graham.
For more on the life of Billy Graham, see the video below.