Evangelist Billy Graham, a confidant to US presidents and a guiding light to millions of American evangelicals, died on Wednesday morning. Graham was a popular American and international preacher and helped millions to convert to Christianity.
Graham passed away at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, according to CNN.
The preacher, according to CNN, evangelized more than 215 million people over his tremendous six decades of service. He also prayed with numerous presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. Several presidents relied very closely on Graham's spiritual counsel.
In fact, according to ABC News, Graham was particularly close with Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and both of the Bushes.
Graham's voice was heard in 185 of the world's 195 countries, he reportedly helped an estimated 3 million people commit their lives to Christianity. Indeed, he was one of the most dominant religious leaders of his era. Perhaps nobody else — aside from Pope John Paul the Great and one or two other people — came close to what he achieved in converting the masses to Christianity.
As a result, people from around the world are expressing their sorrow for the loss of this great man. Among them is Vice President Mike Pence, a fellow evangelical Christian, who personally looked up to Billy Graham.
"Karen and I were saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Americans of the century," wrote Pence. "We send our deepest condolences to Graham's family."
He continued, "Billy Graham's ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, "well done good and faithful servant." Thank you, Billy Graham. God bless you."
Donald Trump has also commented on this tragic loss.
"The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man."
Republican lawmakers have also been commenting on the death of Billy Graham. Here are some of their reactions.
The Charlotte Observer writes that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper responded within an hour of the preacher's death, writing the Graham was "strong, humble, positive, and passionate." He also called Graham a "man of faith who made a difference in the lives of many."
Samuel Rodriguez, the president of America's largest Latino Evangelical organization, referred to Graham as “the most influential evangelist in modern history. Billy Graham stepped into the corridors of eternity. He preached the gospel, lived with integrity and changed the world. Thank you for the example.”
After finding out about the death of Graham, Albert Mohler Jr., the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that Graham was a titanic figure in evangelicalism.
“An epic era of evangelical history has come to an end,” Mohler said. “Billy Graham was not only a titanic figure in evangelicalism, but in world history and perhaps represents the last of a kind. He dominated 20th century American evangelicalism and remained a major figure on the world stage throughout most of the 20th century in a way that we can envision no evangelical leader in our times.”
Billy Graham was known as "America's Pastor" throughout his life as he became one of the most important figures in the revival of U.S. evangelical Christianity. America's Pastor's popularity began when he began to hold revival meetings in the 1940s and then began to advise US presidents.
In recent years, however, Graham has been in poor health and had turned his international ministry over to his son, Franklin Graham.
ABC News writes that despite numerous hospitalizations in recent years, Graham's work has remained in the public eye even later in his life. In 2011, for instance, around the preacher's 93rd birthday, he released his 30th book, "Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well," which was on the subject of aging. In 2011, audio files documenting six decades of his ministry were finally available online in a searchable database.
Read more here about Trump and Pence's reactions to Graham's death.