Evangelist Billy Graham was one of many Americans who paid tribute to Walter Cronkite after hearing of the journalist’s death Friday.
“Walter Cronkite was one of the closest friends I had in journalism," said Graham. "He was an icon. I doubt if anybody will replace him in the hearts and minds of Americans. I respected his views on so many subjects.”
At the age of 92, Cronkite died Friday at 7:42 p.m. with his family by his side at his Manhattan home after a long illness, according to Linda Mason, vice president of CBS, where Cronkite defined the role of TV anchor and commentator.
As the face of the "CBS Evening News" from 1962 to 1981, Cronkite came to be called "the most trusted man in America."
"He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed," noted President Obama in a statement.
In Graham’s remarks, the world renowned evangelist recalled how touched he was by Cronkite’s more recent role in “Ruth and Billy Graham: What Grace Provides,” a 2002 documentary about the Graham couple that Cronkite narrated and also appeared in to reminisce about his own relationship with his friends the Grahams.
“I will never forget Walter’s narration,” Graham said.
“May God bless his family during these days," he concluded.
Cronkite is survived by his three children - Nancy, Kathy and Walter III "Chip" - and four grandchildren.
A private funeral service has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York, which the Cronkites attended for many years.
According to Cronkite’s longtime chief of staff, Marlene Adler, the Rev. William Tully will preside over the Episcopal service at the church.