(RNS) The Rev. Billy Graham has been taken to a hospital in Asheville, N.C., with respiratory problems, a family spokesman said Wednesday.

Evangelist Billy Graham preaches to a crowd of more than 17,000 people at  the New Orleans Arena during the ``Celebration of Hope'' hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse Sunday, March 12, 2006.

Evangelist Billy Graham preaches to a crowd of more than 17,000 people at
the New Orleans Arena during the “Celebration of Hope” hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse Sunday, March 12, 2006.

“Mr. Graham is in the hospital with a respiratory congestion issue, similar to what he had a few weeks ago,” Mark DeMoss said. “As was the case then, we expect he will be able to return home in a day or two.”

Graham, who celebrated his 95th birthday earlier this month with a party in Asheville, was taken to Mission Hospital.

Graham’s birthday celebration featured hundreds of well-wishers and what is being characterized as his final sermon.

In a video that was recorded over the past year, Graham delivered his familiar message about the saving power of Jesus Christ and expressed concern about the nation’s direction. “Our country’s in great need of a spiritual awakening,” he declared. “There have been times that I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God.”

His son, Franklin Graham, who now runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said before his father’s birthday that the elder Graham has the typical maladies of old age but “has not had any major illnesses in several years.”

“The (stay) at Mission was kind of routine,” Franklin Graham said of the first stay in late October. “An older person will have trouble with their lungs, sometimes ingesting water in their lungs, and it gives them an infection. He had a little bit of that, and they could put him on antibiotics and that seemed to clear it up, so we’re thankful for that.”

Franklin Graham said his father has poor eyesight and hearing, and he uses hearing aids, but he remains alert and engaged, keeping up with the news and his work.

Graham has preached to almost 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission, according to his Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts. Graham began building an international following in 1949, when his three-week Los Angeles Crusade drew overflow crowds.

(John Boyle and John Bacon write for USA Today. Susan Page contributed to this report.)

10 Comments

  1. Bless you for all you have done all those years ,I have watched your programs
    many years back .Hard to believe I myself am 90 thi s year And getting around on my own and not on alot of medication ,May be good genes as father was 94
    Will be thinking of you ,God Bless You . LOVE IRENE

  2. Gay sex is great

    I am not a fan of Billy Graham.. His comments in the 80′s that AIDS was GODS way of getting back & the killing of gays was a comment full of HATE. How can an alleged man of GOD make such a hateful comment? Yeah he apologized years later, but the men who were dying, did not get to hear that apology..He will answer for those words..

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