Local & national representatives react to the passing of Rev. Billy Graham

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 1961 file photo, Evangelist Billy Graham, left, talks with President John F. Kennedy during a call at the the White House in Washington. Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. Spokesman Mark DeMoss says Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. He was 99. (AP Photo, File)

"Do I fear death?" Billy Graham asked at a news conference in 2005. "No. I look forward to death with great anticipation. I'm looking forward to seeing God face to face."

The Rev. Billy Graham passed away in his Montreat home Wednesday morning.

Representatives from across the state and the country have released their thoughts and prayers to the Graham family.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper released this statement:

"Billy Graham was a strong, humble, positive and passionate North Carolina man of faith who made a difference in the lives of so many. Rest with God, Reverend Graham."

Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (NC-10) has released the following statement on the passing of the Reverend Billy Graham:

"Giulia and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of North Carolina's finest sons, the Reverend Billy Graham. Since he rose to prominence with his famous eight-week Los Angeles Crusade in 1949, Reverend Graham has served as a guiding light for people all over the world. Reverend Graham has taken the gospel to every corner of the globe, preaching to nearly 215 million people in over 185 countries since first being ordained as a minister in 1939. Commonly referred to as 'America's Pastor', Reverend Graham has long served as a moral compass for the nation, serving as a spiritual adviser to every U.S. President since Eisenhower."

"One of the finest moments of my career was having the opportunity to represent Reverend Graham when his Montreat home was placed in the 10th district. The personal kindness and hospitality Reverend Graham showed when inviting me into his home is something I will never forget.

"Giulia and I extend our deepest condolences to Virginia, Anne, Ruth, Franklin, and Nelson on the passing of their father and to the entire family on the loss of a grandfather, great-grandfather, mentor, and friend. We are forever indebted to Reverend Graham and his death is a tremendous loss for our state, our nation, and our world. We find solace in his passing with the knowledge that Reverend Graham has gone peacefully to be reunited with his beloved wife of 63 years, Ruth, in the kingdom he preached about for so many years."

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the passing of Reverend Billy Graham:

“One of the greatest messengers of Christ has gone to his heavenly reward. Dr. Graham spread the good news to millions across the world and led a life beyond reproach.

“He was a counselor to presidents, a pastor to the masses, and most of all – a loving, caring husband, father, and grandfather. May Dr. Graham rest in peace.”

Senator Richard Burr released the following statement regarding the passing of North Carolina’s Reverend Billy Graham:

“I was incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Reverend Billy Graham this morning. America’s Pastor was an inspiration to millions of Christians in our country and across the world. While his humility, faith, and booming voice will be sorely missed, today, he is at peace with God.”

Other leaders react to the passing of Rev. Billy Graham

President Donald Trump

In a tweet, President Donald Trump said: "The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man."

Vice President Mike Pence

"Billy Graham's ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions," Pence tweeted. "We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, 'well done good and faithful servant.'"

Former President Barack Obama

"Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many - and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans."

Former President Jimmy Carter

"Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened to learn of the death of The Reverend Billy Graham," Carter said in a statement. "Tirelessly spreading a message of fellowship and hope, he shaped the spiritual lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. Broad-minded, forgiving, and humble in his treatment of others, he exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve."

Sen. Lindsey Graham

One of the greatest messengers of Christ has gone to his heavenly reward," Sen. Graham wrote in a tweet. "Dr. Graham spread the good news to millions across the world and led a life beyond reproach."

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster

"Rev. Billy Graham dedicated his life to preaching the Gospel, touching the lives of millions across the world," Gov. McMaster said on Twitter. "It is bittersweet to hear of his homegoing this morning, as he will be missed, but we know he is rejoicing with his Savior right now."

Anne Graham Lotz

In an online post titled "Daddy is at Home," Graham's daughter Anne Graham Lotz said she did not think of him as a public figure. "I think of my Daddy. The one who was always a farmer at heart," she wrote. "Who loved his dogs and his cat. Who followed the weather patterns almost as closely as he did world events. Who wore old blue jeans, comfortable sweaters, and a baseball cap. Who loved lukewarm coffee, sweet ice tea, one scoop of ice cream, and a plain hamburger from McDonald's. Who was interested in everything and everyone, from the small to the great."

President George W. Bush credited Billy Graham with helping him to quit drinking alcohol. When asked how his life would be different if it were not for Graham, he said simply, "I wouldn't be president." Former Pres. George H. W. Bush issues a statement on the passing of Rev. Billy Graham: "I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths... we will miss our good friend forever."

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