Media captionBilly Graham preached to more than 200 million people worldwide

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

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 around the world.

Former presidents are among the many who have been paying tribute. President Trump called him “great” and a “very special man”.

After becoming one of the best-known promoters of Christianity in the US, Graham embarked on his global mission with an event in London in 1954.

Graham reached millions of worshippers through TV – the first to use the medium to convey the Christian message on such a scale.

Young preacher to worldwide phenomenon

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 travelling 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.

Billy Graham preaching in Paris in 1986Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPreaching in Paris in 1986

His global mission took him to all corners of the world including Nigeria and communist North Korea.

An early sermon outside the US took place before 12,000 worshippers in 1954 in Harringay Arena, London.

At first ambivalent about the civil rights movement in the US, he became more sympathetic in the 1950s, preaching to racially integrated congregations.

His fiery delivery became more measured with advancing years and controversy surrounding the techniques of mass evangelism.

Graham avoided the scandals – sexual and financial – which dogged some contemporary televangelists through the decades.

A social conservative, he opposed same-sex marriage and abortion.

Graham preached his final revival meeting in New York in 2005 at the age of 86.

As the end of his life approached, he said: “I know that soon my life will be over. I thank God for it, and for all He has given me in this life. But I look forward to Heaven.”

‘Plus side of history’ – tributes

In a tweet, President Donald Trump called him a special man.

He wrote: “The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.”

U.S. First Family (2011, L-R) Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Barack Obama, and Sasha Obama

Former President Barack Obama said he was a guide to millions of Americans.

Civil rights campaigner Rev Jesse Jackson was among others to pay tribute.

UK singer Sir Cliff Richard, who announced he had become Christian at a Billy Graham event in London in 1966, said the world had lost someone special.

“Dr Billy Graham was the most honourable and honest of men. His faith was obvious and I found him inspiring to be with,” the pop singer said.

“His rallies were always moving and enlightening and he presented a ‘hope’ to many who didn’t know that one existed.”

Chaplain to presidents

Billy Graham was close to US presidents from Harry Truman, through Richard Nixon to Barack Obama.

He played golf with Gerald Ford and went on holiday with George H W Bush. The latter’s son, George W Bush, credits him with restoring his faith in 2010.

Billy Graham, centre, with l-r George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, 2007Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionBilly Graham (centre), friend to George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter among other presidents

Graham endorsed Nixon for the presidency but went on to criticise him over the Watergate scandal.

Mr Obama became the 12th president to meet Graham when he visited the preacher at his hilltop home in North Carolina in 2010.

Graham later acknowledged that his closeness to power risked compromising his message.

“If I had to do it over again, I would also avoid any semblance of involvement in partisan politics.

“An evangelist is called to do one thing, and one thing only: to proclaim the Gospel.”

Presentational grey line

Did you meet Billy Graham? Did you attend any of his rallies? Please share your stories with us by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

  • WhatsApp: +447555 173285
  • Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
  • Upload your pictures / video here
  • Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100

Or comment here:

Your contact details

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.