ATLANTA - Former President Jimmy Carter has released a statement following the death of renowned evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, stating he's deeply saddened.
Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina, according to spokesman Mark DeMoss. He was 99.
Dubbed "America's pastor," he was a confidant to U.S. presidents from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush. That also included Jimmy Carter, who said Graham had an enormous influence on his own spiritual life.
Wednesday morning, Carter released the following statement about Graham's passing:
"Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened to learn of the death of The Reverend Billy Graham. 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. He had an enormous influence on my own spiritual life, and I was pleased to count Reverend Graham among my advisers and friends."
In 1983, following Carter's term in office, President Reagan gave Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. When the Billy Graham Museum and Library was dedicated in 2007 in Charlotte, Carter was among the former presidents who attended.
Graham, the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, will be buried by his wife, Ruth, at the Billy Graham Museum and Library.