Nation/World

Evangelist hospitalized for internal bleeding

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Evangelist Billy Graham was in fair condition Saturday and resting comfortably in a hospital near his home after he was admitted for evaluation and treatment of intestinal bleeding, hospital officials said.

Graham, 88, was fully alert, and his doctors don’t think his condition is life-threatening, said his spokesman, Larry Ross.

“The priority right now is rest,” Ross said.

Graham’s blood pressure was good and there were no signs of new bleeding Saturday night, according to a statement released by Mission Health & Hospitals in Asheville.

He was expected to sleep well overnight, the hospital said.

The hospital said in a statement that Graham’s condition had stabilized following his admission, and an initial endoscopy and a bleeding scan found no areas of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

“It stopped as quickly as it began,” Ross said.

Ross estimated the ailing preacher could be released from the hospital in a couple of days.

The hospital said the initial bleeding may have been caused by diverticuli, or small pouches that can form in the lower intestine. A diverticular bleed often begins suddenly and may stop on its own, the hospital said.

Ross said Graham experienced a similar intestinal bleed during in 1995 crusade in Toronto.

Graham, who suffers from a variety of ailments including Parkinson’s disease and age-related macular degeneration, has been largely confined to his western North Carolina home in recent years.

Graham’s wife of 64 years, Ruth Bell Graham, died in June. She had been bedridden for months with degenerative osteoarthritis of the back and neck.

The ailing Graham surprised mourners at her funeral by rising to talk about his wife, who was his closest confidant during a six-decade career that took him around the world to preach to more than 210 million people.

“I wish you could look in that casket because she’s so beautiful,” said Graham, clinging to a walker. “She was a wonderful woman.”

The charismatic Southern Baptist minister has preached in more than 185 countries and territories, and packed arenas in the United States. He is known for his close ties to Richard Nixon, who said Graham helped persuade him to run for president in 1968.



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