Preacher Billy Graham admitted to US hospital


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The Rev Billy Graham was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday near his home in North Carolina to be tested for pneumonia after suffering from congestion, a cough and a slight fever, his spokesman said.

The personal physician for the 93-year-old evangelist, Dr Lucian Rice, said Graham was in stable condition.

For six decades, Graham led a worldwide crusade-based ministry that packed stadiums with believers and allowed him to counsel every US president since Harry Truman. His most recent book, "Nearing Home," was published last month.

In recent years, age-related conditions such as macular degeneration and hearing loss have kept Graham at home.

A news release issued by Mission Hospital in Asheville said Graham was alert, smiling and waving to staff as he entered. Hospital spokesman A. Larry Ross said Graham likely would spend the night there.

Ross said Graham was in good spirits after undergoing a full afternoon of medical tests. His daughter, Gigi, visited him after dinner for prayer and Bible reading, Ross said.

Graham was last hospitalised in May, when he spent five days at the same hospital for pneumonia. In October 2008, Graham was hospitalsed after he tripped and fell over one of his dogs. Earlier that same year, he had elective surgery on a shunt that controls excess fluid on his brain. The shunt was first installed in 2000 and drains fluid through a small tube, relieving excess pressure that can cause symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.

Graham has also suffered from prostate cancer and was hospitalised in 2007 for nearly two weeks after experiencing intestinal bleeding. His wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in June 2007.

Graham rarely appears in public now. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is run by Graham's son, Franklin.