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Reverend Billy Graham speaks on October 15, 1989. Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd. / WireImage via Getty Images

Evangelist preacher Billy Graham has died at the age of 99 from natural causes, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed to NBC News.

His impact: Graham served as a spiritual advisor to roughly a dozen U.S. presidents — and he made waves in the early 1950s by forcing churches to racially integrate for his services. He preached to an estimated 200 million people in 185 countries around the world during his life, according to the association’s website.

His life:

  • Graham, who grew up on a dairy farm in North Carolina, wrote around 30 books and has appeared on Gallup’s list of most admired men and women 61 times since 1955.
  • During his “global crusade” in 1995, Graham's sermons were translated into 48 languages and transmitted to countries around the world by satellite, according to NBC News.
  • As the NYT notes, Graham was a bit of an unusual religious leader. "Unlike the pope or the Dalai Lama, he spoke for neither a particular church (though he was a Southern Baptist) nor a particular people."
  • He was also a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said of Graham: “Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been.”

Later life:

  • In November 1995, on Graham's 77th birthday, he named his eldest son, Franklin, to replace him as head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
  • Graham dealt with several illnesses in the past few years, including prostate cancer, hydrocephalus (a buildup of fluid in the brain) and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, according to NYT.

President Trump also acknowledged his death on Twitter Wednesday morning:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Biden's pick to lead major banking regulator drops out

Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.

Why it matters: It's the latest setback in the Biden administration's rollout of COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Federal judges in two states temporarily barred the administration from enforcing mandates for millions of workers last week.

Biden threatens Putin

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."