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.
George W. Bush credited Billy Graham with helping him to quit drinking alcohol.— ABC News (@ABC) February 21, 2018
When asked how his life would be different if it were not for Graham, he said simply, "I wouldn't be president." https://t.co/sxmw3SfZP8 pic.twitter.com/Oof5IGybUZ
The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2018
Saddened by the loss of Evangelist Billy Graham. He led an impactful life, touching so many people with his spiritual teachings. He will be deeply missed.— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) February 21, 2018
Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many - and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 21, 2018
Karen and I were saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Americans of the century, Reverend Billy Graham. We send our deepest condolences to the Graham family. (1/2)— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 21, 2018
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.— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) February 21, 2018
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.
Just got the word that Billy Graham has passed at the age of 99— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) February 21, 2018
What joy there must be in Heaven this morning as this good and faithful servant enters into the joy of His Lord.
You were one of a kind Sir and this world will not be the same place without you.
Rejoicing with my precious friend, Billy Graham. Without a doubt, the finest man I ever knew. So grateful that I am among the millions that he lead to faith in Jesus and the promise of eternal life.— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) February 21, 2018
For more on the life of Billy Graham, see the video below.