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Evangelist Billy Graham hospitalized for evaluation, lung treatment

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 6:30 AM EST, Thu December 1, 2011
Evangelist Billy Graham turned 93 on November 7.
Evangelist Billy Graham turned 93 on November 7.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Doctors are checking for signs of pneumonia
  • Billy Graham celebrated his 93rd birthday on November 7
  • He is hospitalized in Asheville, North Carolina, for evaluation

(CNN) -- Evangelist Billy Graham has been admitted to a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, for "evaluation and treatment of his lungs," the hospital said Wednesday.

When Graham, who turned 93 on November 7, was admitted to Mission Hospital, "He was alert, smiling and waving at hospital staff," according to a statement from the hospital.

"While no date has been set for discharge, Mr. Graham is looking forward to returning home to spend the upcoming Christmas holidays with his family," the statement said.

Graham is the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. The association said the evangelist was in stable condition and is being tested for possible pneumonia.

Graham, who lives in nearby Montreat, was hospitalized in May for successful treatment of pneumonia, the hospital said.

1993: Billy Graham at Clinton inaugural
2001: Billy Graham delivers 9/11 sermon
1991: Graham on the start of the Gulf War

A native of Charlotte, Graham has preached to untold millions over six decades. He has provided counsel to generations of U.S. presidents, beginning with President Harry S. Truman.

Graham began his missionary work in 1944 when he started speaking at rallies for the Youth for Christ Campus Life ministry. Five years later, Graham was holding crusades in tents in downtown Los Angeles. Originally scheduled for three weeks, the crusades drew so many followers they were extended to seven.

His most recent book, "Nearing Home," was published in October.

Graham's "last crusade" in June 2005 drew a total of 230,000 people.

He described it as his last American crusade, but hedged his farewells during a poignant appearance in Corona Park in Queens, New York.

"We hope to come back again someday," Graham announced. "I was asked in an interview if this was our last crusade and I said it probably is -- in New York. But I also said, 'I never say never.' "

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