(RNS) — Billy Graham, a religious phenomenon who became a household name and preached to multitudes of people across the globe, died Wednesday (Feb. 21) after more than a half-century of ministry. He was 99.

He died shortly before 8 a.m., a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association told Religion News Service.

Billy Graham preaches before a crowd of 40,000 at the Southern Baptist Convention in the Louisiana Superdome, June 14, 1982. Speaking at a public evangelistic rally sponsored by the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference as a preliminary to the SBC meeting, the evangelist said, “The chances of any of us

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