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Tuesday 22 January 2019

Billy Graham’s body begins final journey home

The man known as America’s pastor died aged 99 from natural causes.

Obit-Billy Graham
Obit-Billy Graham

By Diane Rose

A hearse bearing the body of evangelist the Reverend Billy Graham has begun its journey from the North Carolina mountains to his home town of Charlotte.

The procession began with a ceremonial departure from a mountain chapel at the training centre operated by his evangelistic association in Asheville.

Crowds lined the streets as the procession passed through the town of Black Mountain on its 130 mile journey.

The hearse carries the body of Rev Billy Graham on its journey to Charlotte (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

The Billy Graham Evangelical Association announced Graham’s funeral service will take place at noon on March 2.

Graham, known to many as America’s pastor, died aged 99 on Wednesday from natural causes at his family home in Montreat just outside Asheville.

Mark Demoss, a spokesman for the organisation, said the funeral will be held in a large tent as a tribute to Graham’s first Crusade in Los Angeles in 1949.

And, like his wife Ruth, who died in 2007, Graham will be buried in a simple pine casket made by inmates at the correctional facility in Angola, Lousiana.

Approximately 2,300 invitations were issued for the private funeral, including to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and former presidents, George H W Bush, George W Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Mr DeMoss said.

It is unclear which, if any, presidents will attend the services.

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