Spokesman: Rev. Billy Graham has died

NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 12: Billy Graham preaches during the Celebration of Hope on March 12, 2006 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was the first time Billy Graham preached since last June. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

MONTREAT, N.C. (AP) — The Rev. Billy Graham, counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died at age 99.

Spokesman Mark DeMoss tell The Associated Press that Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

He had been treated in recent years for cancer, pneumonia and other ailments. His wife, Ruth, died in 2007. Graham reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio.

Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society. His message and service to U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush earned him the nickname “America’s Pastor.” In 1995 his Evangelistic Association designated his son William Franklin Graham III as the ministry’s leader.