Christians, conservatives, critics and others have commemorated religious leader Billy Graham, who died Wednesday at age 99.
The reverend brought evangelism into the religious mainstream, and his broad influence was seen in the tributes on social media that followed the news of his death. Graham preached to approximately 215 million people in 185 countries and advised about a dozen U.S. presidents.
President Trump tweeted that "there was nobody like him" and that he would be "missed by Christians and all religions." Former President Obama remembered Graham as a "humble servant who prayed for so many — and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans."
Vice President Mike Pence christened Graham "one of the greatest Americans of the century" and praised his years of ministry that affected the lives of millions.
My father @BillyGraham was once asked, “Where is Heaven?” He said, “Heaven is where Jesus is and I am going to Him soon!” This morning, he departed this world into eternal life in Heaven, prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ—the Savior of the world—whom he proclaimed for 80 years.— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) February 21, 2018
The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2018
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.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 21, 2018
"Tirelessly spreading a message of fellowship and hope, he shaped the spiritual lives of tens of millions of people worldwide," former President Carter said in a statement, speaking for himself and his wife, Rosalynn Carter.
"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."
Billy Graham's ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, "well done good and faithful servant." Thank you Billy Graham. God bless you(2/2)— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 21, 2018
"I was privileged to have him as a personal friend," former President George H.W. Bush said in a statement obtained by KPRC-TV in Houston. "He would come to Maine to visit with Barbara and me, and he was a great sport. He loved going really fast in my boat. I guess you could say we had that in common. Then we would come home and talk about life."
Graham also mentored several of his children, he said, including former President George W. Bush.
Saddened by the loss of Evangelist Billy Graham. He led an impactful life, touching so many people with his spiritual teachings. He will be deeply missed.— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) February 21, 2018
Several conservative politicians and prominent Republicans joined in with their sentiments. Mike Huckabee in particular highlighted Graham's far reach.
"[It] didn't matter if he was talking to Presidents, Popes, Prime Ministers, or ordinary people he stuck to the stuff of a very simple message that we are sinners and Jesus Christ is our hope to be rescued from our sins," the former Arkansas governor said in a statement. "He would [be] criticized and sometimes held in contempt by the elites and academics for such a simple message, but while the critics came and went, Billy Graham never turned to the right or left, but kept his eye on the Cross."
Saddened by the passing of Rev. Billy Graham, a great American & faithful Christian who inspired millions of people with the gospel message. RIP.— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 21, 2018
Billy Graham lifted eyes toward heaven and instilled heaven’s values in hearts. The world mourns this man of character, this man of God.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 21, 2018
I fondly remember watching Dr. Billy Graham during my childhood and even wrote to him once. He was an inspiration to all who heard him. Our world will miss him greatly.— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) February 21, 2018
One of the greatest privileges of my life was to speak at one of his rallies and to personally experience his charisma. Thank you Lord for sharing this life with us for 99 years. 2/2— Ben & Candy Carson (@RealBenCarson) February 21, 2018
Meanwhile, Christians in sports and entertainment also fondly remembered the late crusader by quoting his words and recalling the effect he had on their lives.
Rejoicing with my precious friend, Billy Graham. Without a doubt, the finest man I ever knew. So grateful that I am among the millions that he led to faith in Jesus and the promise of eternal life.— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) February 21, 2018
A great man of God, Billy Graham has gone to Heaven.— Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) February 21, 2018
Heaven is richer and earth poorer as a result. Billy preached the Gospel to more people then any person who has ever lived.
He was the same man privately that he was publicly.
Billy was the most Christ- like man I have ever met
Rev. Billy Graham has finally gone home. He will forever be remembered for proclaiming the Gospel in his iconic way. I went to 3 of his crusades in my life, the 1st of which was in Columbia, SC.— Josh Turner (@joshturnermusic) February 21, 2018
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” - Billy Graham— Sean Lowe (@SeanLowe09) February 21, 2018
Condolences to family of the Reverend Doctor Billy Graham. The great preacher and pastor has died, leaving a legacy of being one of the most influential Americans of his time.— Dan Rather (@DanRather) February 21, 2018
Billy Graham has always been and will always be a hero in our home. Next to my own father, Reverend Graham was the most humble and gracious man I ever knew. I am honored to call him a friend and a mentor. Victoria and I will miss him dearly. pic.twitter.com/8kkj3kYRJo— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) February 21, 2018
However, his influence did not make him immune to critics and hecklers — actress Nia Vardalos, for one.