US evangelist Billy Graham - one of the most influential preachers of the 20th Century - has died aged 99 at his home in North Carolina.

Graham, a Baptist, became one of the best-known promoters of Christianity, preaching to audiences worldwide in large arenas, including in London in 1954.

Graham, who had been suffering from cancer, pneumonia and a number of other illnesses, was a counsellor to American presidents and travelled the globe to become perhaps the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history.

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 personally preached to 210 million people.

Graham became a committed Christian at the age of 16 after hearing a travelling evangelist and was ordained a minister in 1939. At first sceptical of the civil rights movement in the US, he went on to become a supporter in the 1950s. Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society.

Here's a link to the official Billy Graham website.

Here's a link to the BBC news story.

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