Billy Graham: Influential US evangelist dies at 99

(BBC) – US evangelist Billy Graham – one of the most influential preachers of the 20th Century – has died aged 99.

Graham became one of the best-known promoters of Christianity, beginning his worldwide mission in large arenas in London in 1954.

He died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said.

In a 60-year career, he is estimated to have preached to hundreds of millions of people.

Graham reached millions of them through TV – the first to use the medium to convey the Christian message on that scale.

Born in 1918 and raised on his family’s dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina, Billy Graham became a committed Christian at the age of 16 after hearing a traveling evangelist.

He was ordained a minister in 1939, aged 21.

Graham’s public profile was raised in the United States when he held a two-month ministry in a giant tent in Los Angeles in 1949.