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ASHEVILLE, N.C.>> The Rev. Billy Graham was admitted to a hospital Wednesday near his home in western North Carolina to be tested for pneumonia after suffering from congestion, a cough and a slight fever, his spokesman said.
The 93-year-old evangelist was taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville, spokesman A. Larry Ross said. His personal physician, Dr. Lucian Rice, said he was in stable condition.
A news release issued by the hospital said Graham was alert, smiling and waving to staff as he entered the hospital. Ross said Graham was admitted for observation and treatment and 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. As the two watched television in the hospital room, Ross said they found a replay of Graham’s 1973 crusade in St. Louis.
For six decades, Graham led a worldwide crusade-based ministry that packed stadiums with believers and allowed him to counsel every U.S. 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 his home in Montreat, about 20 miles east of Asheville.
He was last hospitalized in May, when he spent five days at the same hospital for pneumonia. In October 2008, Graham was hospitalized 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 hospitalized 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.