* Graham preached to hundreds of millions of people
* Close relationship with several U.S. presidents
* Last call for ‘spiritual awakening’
By Bill Trott
Feb 21 (Reuters) - U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, who counseled presidents and preached to millions across the world from his native North Carolina to communist North Korea during his 70 years on the pulpit, died on Wednesday at the age of 99, a spokesman said.
Graham died at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, according to Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
With his steely features and piercing blue eyes, Graham was a powerful figure when he preached in his prime, roaming the stage and hoisting a Bible as he declared Jesus Christ to be the only solution to humanity’s problems.
According to his ministry, he preached to more people than anyone else in history, reaching hundreds of millions of people either in person or via TV and satellite links.
Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Frances Kerry and Diane Craft